By Zaeem Shaikh
A teen who fatally shot one person and wounded another outside Lamar High School in March was sentenced Thursday to 40 years in prison.
Judge Alex Kim told the teenager the jury’s unanimous punishment in court, KXAS-TV (NBC5) reported. He faced a sentence between probation and the maximum sentence for juveniles under Texas law of 40 years.
According to NBC5, the boy, unidentified because of his age, cannot be released on parole by the state juvenile justice department for 10 years. The Tarrant County district attorney’s office said Thursday the 16-year-old will have a hearing on his 19th birthday to determine whether he’ll be transferred to an adult prison.
Investigators said the shooting outside the Arlington high school happened on campus at about 6:55 a.m. March 20 before the school day began. Police said two shots were fired, and Ja’Shawn Poirier, 16, was killed and a 16-year-old girl was wounded.
The teen, then 15, left the campus immediately after firing the weapon but was taken into custody within minutes, police previously said. A vigil was held for Poirier the following day where his mother told a reporter that he was a sweet, kind person who loved playing video games and sports, especially football.
Poirier’s mother said she and her son moved to Texas in July last year. About a month after the shooting, a memorial was held for Poirier in the gymnasium of Lamar High.
Last week, the teen pleaded true — juveniles use this designation as opposed to guilty or not guilty — to accusations of capital murder and three counts of attempted capital murder.
The suspect took a shotgun to school and fired it outside into a group of students waiting for the school doors to be unlocked, the district attorney’s office said in a news release.
On Wednesday, KDFW-TV (Channel 4) reported that Poirier’s mother, Roshone Jacob, took the stand in court along with the mother of the teen in custody. According to the station, Jacob said she’s stuck in a nightmare and trying to come out of it.
The suspect’s mother said she believed her son should face consequences and there are no excuses for what he did, KDFW reported.
The teen was set to stand trial last month, but it was delayed after a judge ordered him to undergo a mental evaluation. In June, Kim ruled the teen would not stand trial as an adult.
The teen will be sent to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. His father, 50-year-old John Edward Porter, was sentenced Sept. 7 to more than six years in federal prison for possessing firearms as a felon.
This story, originally published in The Dallas Morning News, is reprinted as part of a collaborative partnership between The Dallas Morning News and Texas Metro News. The partnership seeks to boost coverage of Dallas’ communities of color, particularly in southern Dallas.