Man sentenced 10 years for killing stepfather over yardwork

- A man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the killing of his stepfather, a D.C. police detective.

Antwan James was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter last September for the 2013 death of Joseph Newell.

According to prosecutors, the killing occurred during a dispute over yardwork. On April 22, 2013, Newell asked his stepson for help with yard work. When James refused, his mother told him to leave the house.

James was angry with his mother for siding with his stepfather, so he told her to "watch this," went outside and shot his stepfather 18 times at point-blank range. A surveillance camera at a nearby home captured the incident, which was used in James’ sentencing.

James’ 10-year sentence was the maximum sentence he could have received. He was acquitted of more serious charges of first- and second-degree murder.

"We said at the time and we still feel now that the jury rendered a verdict that was inconsistent with the evidence,” said John Erzen, spokesperson for the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office. “We felt that he should have been convicted with a more serious crime.”

Erzen also added that after James first shot his stepfather, “Once he is now laying on the ground wounded from that shot, to continue standing over him shooting until you have no more rounds left in your gun, certainly, we felt that was a premeditated act and should have been a first-degree murder conviction.”

Erzen further explained that while you can never full know why a jury makes their decision, it is possible that they felt sympathy for James’ mother. He said that when she testified at the trial, she appeared to be very conflicted because of her relationship to both her son and husband.

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