BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The murder trial of a teenager accused of killing three other teens after a birthday party at a civic center was scheduled to begin Monday, but instead, the suspect pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Nakeydran Williams, 17, of Baker, was charged with three counts of second-degree murder and one count of attempted second-degree murder. He was allowed to plead guilty to three counts of manslaughter and one count of attempted second-degree murder. Judge Anthony Marabella Jr. sentenced him to the maximum of 40 years on each manslaughter count, but ruled the sentences are to run concurrently.
The Baker Police Department reported Kendal Dorsey, 15, Diontrey Claiborne, 18, and Marcell Franklin, 15, were shot and killed after a private birthday party at the Baker Civic Club on March 28, 2014. Investigators said Javaughn Simmons, 19, was also shot but survived.
The family of those who died spoke in court Monday.
"My daughter. That's the only daughter I had and now she's gone and I can't bring her back," said Sharon Barton, mother to one of the victims.
One of the victims' mother, Shanna Claiborne, told the judge that Diontrey's father had a heart attack days after burying his son and never recovered from it.
"Just going to take time, it's just going to take time. You know, I'm glad justice was served but it's just not complete closure, not for me, you know, not for me," Claiborne said.
District Attorney Hillar Moore said the deal is best for the families, thanking the few young witnesses who were brave enough to tell the truth.
"Particularly when a tragedy like this happens, we need people who are willing to testify and stand up and say this is our community and this community doesn't belong to you very small number of thugs that want to do what they do," said District Attorney Hillar Moore.
"I told my client that there was no good decision for him but there was a better decision, that is he wants to take responsibility for his actions and guarantee, based on the sentence, that he will be out before he's too old to enjoy life," said Tommy Damico, Williams' defense attorney.
"Me? I feel, I figure it should've been life, but how the system is jacked up, the only thing, at least we got some kind of closure. Give him some kind of time to be able to think about what he did, but all we can do is put it in the Lord's hands," said Mavin Dorsey, an uncle of one of the victims.
A grand jury indicted Williams in April 2014. He was 16 at the time of the shootings and Marabella ruled he could be charged as an adult.