While she said she doesn’t harbor any hate in her heart toward the defendant, Laquitta Harrison asked the judge Tuesday to give a serious sentence after her son’s death.
Brandon Scott King, of Gainesville, appeared in Superior Court Judge Bonnie Oliver’s court Tuesday for a plea. He was the third co-defendant originally charged with felony murder in connection with Jaquerian Harrison’s death on April 11, 2016.
Harrison, 21, was found with multiple gunshot wounds by Gainesville Police at the Orchard Brook Apartments off McEver Road. He later died at Northeast Georgia Medical Center.
King received a 20-year sentence, with nine of those years to be served in confinement. He will receive credit for time served and is under the First Offender conditions.
If he meets the conditions of the sentence, the court will discharge the offenses.
Chief Assistant District Attorney Wanda Vance dismissed the felony murder charge, and King was sentenced on aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and violation of the Georgia Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act.
Vance said the evidence would show King did fire his gun at the scene, but the bullet was not the fatal shot that killed Harrison.
“I want him to know that I don’t hate him,” Laquitta Harrison said. “I don’t have hate in my heart for him, and the most important thing for me is that I do forgive him.”
Harrison continued on to tell Oliver she wanted an appropriate sentence to seek justice for her son. After the hearing, the victim’s mother said she was “satisfied” and felt justice was served for both sides.
“When you’re involved in a gang, and you commit a drive-by shooting because another gang member calls you for help and says these people have guns and you respond with guns, that is a crime and that alone justifies a prison sentence,” Vance said.
The indictment alleged King was associated with the Crips gang.
King’s attorney Calvin Edwards Jr. asked the court to consider the outcomes of the other defendants.
“We’re asking the court to sentence Mr. King in a reasonable and appropriate manner, the same way that those individuals were sentenced,” he said.
Cheslen Bell, of Gainesville, was sentenced to 16 years with the first 12 months in confinement and the rest on probation. He was given credit for time served and released March 21.
According to an April 3 probation violation arrest affidavit, Bell allegedly wore a blue sweatshirt that is “associated with the Crips.”
Bell’s attorney Tom Csider did not return a call for comment.
Kevin Michael Turner, of Gillsville, was given 11 years, with the first 12 months in confinement and the rest on probation. The court deemed his time in confinement served and he was released.
In both cases, the felony murder charge was not prosecuted and the aggravated assault charge was reduced to reckless conduct.
“As far as the ballistics go, we could not match their weapons to anything that was recovered,” Investigator Stephen Johnson said of Bell and Turner.
King’s fiancee Mandy Howard took the stand after the plea was accepted, telling the court of a man deeply involved in his children’s lives.
Natasha Quinones, the defendant’s sister, said the man has had an “amazing impact” on his son. She said he had set a good example for his children, as he cooks, cleans and reads to them.
“Neither Brandon nor I grew up with our dad, so I had a conversation with my brother and I told him to make sure that he is the father to his son that we didn’t have,” she said.
Oliver said King’s lack of a criminal history “weighs strongly” for her to sentence under the First Offender Act.