A DC Superior Court judge sentenced a felony domestic violence defendant to serve four years in prison.
William Mckenzie was sentenced to serve 48 months for assault with a dangerous weapon and 16 months for unlawful possession of a firearm with a prior conviction. The sentences will run concurrently and will be followed by three years of probation.
Mckenzie was accused of sitting in a car and using a rifle to fire two shots in the direction of two individuals. One of the bullets struck one of the victims in the abdomen.
In an impact statement read by an attorney, the victim stated that she received seven surgeries, four blood transfusions and had to learn to walk again after spending at least a month in the hospital as a result of the bullet wound.
“The pain was so much more than the initial wound,” the statement read. “…I couldn’t wrap my head around why.”
The prosecutor acknowledged the differing accounts of what actually happened but urged Judge Ryan to consider the pain the victims and their families had suffered.
“Certain facts don’t change,” the prosecutor said.
Mckenzie was sentenced for two counts of robbery and one account of larceny in an Alabama court back in 2003. He was sentenced to 25 years incarceration for the robbery and 10 years for larceny. Mckenzie was on parole for those crimes when the current crime occurred.
Mckenzie’s parents addressed the court and his mother took the opportunity to argue that his previous sentence in Alabama was given unjustly as it was his first offense. She also said the mass incarceration of Black men in America is a serious issue.
She told the judge that she believed such a long sentence had a negative impact on her son, and she believed rehabilitation would be the best course of action.
The family also expressed remorse for the trauma the victims experienced and prayed for a full recovery.
“I apologize for what happened,” Mckenzie said.
Defense attorney Joseph Wong argued that intent was an important factor in this case and the law is structured to take what a person meant to do into account.
Wong said his client did not show up to the scene of the crime with the intent to harm anyone. He argued that Mckenzie would succeed on supervised release.
Judge Ryan acknowledged Mckenzie’s family’s concern regarding his previous conviction; however, he noted the significant harm one of the victims suffered.
“[For] crimes in which a person is harmed, we start looking at punishment,” said Judge Ryan.
As part of Mckenzie’s probation, the judge ordered him to participate in anger management classes and individual counseling, maintain or commence vocational training and stay away from the victims.
Judge Ryan also scheduled a hearing for Jan. 6 so that the parties may discuss restitution for the victim who was shot.
Mckenzie must also pay $200 to the Victims of Violent Crime (VVC) compensation fund.
Maria Marzullo wrote this article.