A defendant was sentenced to a period of supervised probation for a firearm charge after prosecutors dropped his second-degree murder charge as part of a plea deal.
Jerome Myles was initially charged with second-degree murder while armed after 19-year-old Antonio Dixon was shot to death on the 900 block of 5th Street, SE, on the afternoon of Oct. 20, 2018. The 23-year-old defendant pleaded guilty to carrying a pistol without a license last December.
“You are not a success story yet, but you are on the trajectory of one,” DC Superior Court Judge Milton Lee told Myles during the sentencing hearing on April 8.
When given the opportunity to address the court, Myles began by apologizing to the defendant’s family, though they were not present in court. The prosecutor said the family is frustrated with the plea deal and felt that going to court would have only frustrated them more.
The prosecutor argued against sentencing Myles under the Youth Rehabilitation Act, which would allow his record to be sealed from public view if he successfully completes his probation.
Defense attorney Brandi Harden felt this was unfair. She argued that Myles was in the range of who the YRA was designed for. She offered to continue the sentencing to have an independent third party write a report to show that Myles deserved the benefit of the YRA.
Harden spoke about how her client immediately began pursuing his GED once he was detained at DC Jail. Myles was incarcerated for approximately nine months before being released into the High Intensity Supervision Program. Once released, he enrolled in Project Empowerment, a nonprofit that helps adults find jobs and gain career skills.
Judge Lee said he “denied the youth act all the time,” mainly when he found the crime violent and heinous enough to believe people should be aware of it. He ultimately agreed to sentence Myles under the YRA.
Myles said he was “damaged” when the shooting happened and he is still picking up the pieces. He ended his statement by saying he “wants to be the man his family wants him to be and who the court expects him to be.”
Judge Lee told the defendant he should be thankful for his family above all else. Had he been convicted of his initial charge, Judge Lee said Myles could have spent the next 20 to 25 years in prison, only seeing his family on visiting days. He advised Myles once more, that if he were to re-enter the criminal justice system, he would only be cheating himself.
Judge Lee sentenced Myles to a fully-suspended 20 months with 15 months of probation. He must also complete 100 hours of community service and register as a gun offender. Upon exiting the courtroom, Myles and his family hugged and conversed with Harden.