Caddo Parish District Attorney James E. Stewart Sr. plans to appeal a light sentence given to a teen Wednesday, February 13, 2019, in Caddo Juvenile Court in the case of an admitted violent crime against an elderly couple in late 2018.
Defendant Antonio Bernard Smith, 14, admitted January 23, 2019, to the charge of simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling with regard to the October 31, 2018, burglary of the home of an elderly couple on Poleman Street in Shreveport.
Surveillance video in the home of the victims showed four individuals breaking into the couple’s automobile, which was located under an attached garage. One of the accused, 15-year-old Darryeon Thomas, fired a shot that struck the 78-year-old female victim in her left knee. The victim’s husband then returned fire.
Smith’s sentencing hearing before Judge Paul Young included testimony from the female victim and her husband about the extensive physical and mental damage caused by the burglary, and the state presented letters from their family members, as well as records of the woman’s mental health professional.
Despite the evidence presented by the state, Judge Young gave Smith a suspended sentence of two years and placed him on active supervised probation for 18 months.
Prosecutors strenuously objected to the lenient sentence, which included no period of incarceration, and advised the court of its intent to appeal the sentence.
“A probation sentence in an armed robbery of a citizen’s home where the elderly victim is shot is not acceptable,” D.A. Stewart said. “We will allow the Court of Appeal to address and correct this too-lenient sentence. Having two separate judges hear one case involving juvenile co-defendants is absurd.”
Two of the four defendants already have been sentenced in this case, receiving terms in custody. Shooter Darryeon Thomas admitted to aggravated battery, illegal possession of a stolen firearm and aggravated burglary. He was sentenced January 28, 2019, by Caddo Parish Juvenile Judge Ree Casey-Jones to serve juvenile life on all three counts. Jonathon Montgomery, 15, admitted to aggravated burglary and was sentenced by Judge Casey-Jones on November 16, 2018, to serve 18 months. She suspended all but six months of the sentence and upon release will be on probation until his 18th birthday.
Louisiana Children’s Code article 879 provides that all proceedings in a juvenile delinquency case involving a crime of violence shall be open to the public.