Homicide Victim’s Mother Speaks in Court After Defendant Pleads Guilty to Shooting Her Son

A homicide victim’s mother spoke in court after the defendant charged with her son’s death entered a guilty plea, describing the victim and the encounter that took his life.

On Dec. 11, 2020, Metropolitan Police Department officers responded to the report of a traffic accident at the intersection of 21st Street and Benning Road, NE. They found 35-year-old Antoine Pierce barely conscious, suffering from gunshot wounds. An autopsy found the father of six sustained gunshot wounds to his left upper extremity and both of his legs, according to court documents.

Jamall Thornton was charged with second-degree murder while armed a few days later. He eventually agreed to plead down to voluntary manslaughter while armed as part of an agreement with prosecutors.

According to the prosecution, the defendant shot at the unarmed victim, who was in a vehicle, three times, not knowing that one of the victim’s children was in the backseat. When officers arrived at the scene, a bystander was holding the child. They told officers they removed the child from the car for their safety. Thornton, 27, left the scene and reported the incident as a carjacking.

During the hearing on April 12, the victim’s mother described how the homicide affected her and her family. She called her son a “vessel of love” and told DC Superior Court Judge Marisa Demeo she is appalled that Thorton was able to accept a plea deal.

The plea deal Thornton took includes an agreement between parties to recommend a sentence of 10-and-a-half years. The victim’s mother said “less than 10 years is a slap on the wrist” and that “legislation is not strong enough.”

“My whole family has a bleeding heart,” she said.

Thornton is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 5.