Stabber sentenced to 18 months in jail
June 12, 2008 · Updated 10:55 AM
Convicted stabber Isaiah Shepherd will be headed off to prison for at least a year, following his sentencing last Friday.
Shepherd, 18, was acquitted of nearly all the charges associated with a Dec. 31 brawl that left two young men wounded. However, he was convicted of a single lesser-included charge of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon for stabbing one man 22-year-old Jamin Mason.
The second-degree assault charge was offered to the jury by the prosecution as an alternative to the primary first-degree assault charges.
Shepherd, a former South Kitsap High School student, seemed unsure of how to react to the proceedings. He intermittently flashed grins to his family, mouthing, Im not worried, and talking about snowboarding a sport he used to write articles about for the high school newspaper.
However, his expression quickly lapsed back into the pensive game face he has worn through most of his court appearances.
When asked to address the court before his sentence was pronounced, he only had one thing to say:
Your honor, I didnt really want things to turn out this way, but since they did turn out the way they did, I pray justice may be served, Shepherd said.
Deputy prosecutor Tom Morris, who stood in for the cases regular prosecutor Andy Anderson, asked the court to impose the maximum end of Shepherds standard sentencing range. Because Shepherd has no criminal record, his standard range is between three and nine months not including the mandatory 12-month sentence he earned for the deadly weapon enhancement.
Morris reminded the two injured men had to be hospitalized for their stab wounds and a doctors examination showed Jamin Mason had been stabbed in the back.
The state feels in the extreme serious nature of the crime ... it would be seeking 21 months, Morris said.
Shepherds defense attorney, Jacob Murphy, and Shepherds parents painted a different picture, however. Murphy pointed out the stab wounds were not serious certainly not life-threatening and presented the judge with a packet of five letters from members of the community, all attesting to Shepherds upstanding reputation. He requested the judge give Shepherd the lowest end of the range 15 months total confinement.
Shepherds father, Henry Shepherd II, said the court was doing his son a disservice by punishing him for being honest and cooperating with the police in their investigation.
Shepherd said his son was just trying to defend his friends when he stabbed Jamin and said any boy his sons age would have trouble making good decisions in a situation like that.
Thats too much pressure for a child to be put in, Mr. Shepherd said. Theyre going to make a mistake.
Isaiah Shepherds mother, Pearl, said all of her sons current problems he still has pending burglary charges for crimes allegedly committed last summer can be traced directly the the group of kids he began hanging around with about a year ago. She said jail wasnt the way to help her son a good kid who made some mistakes.
Hes been raised in church all his life, Mrs. Shepherd said. For the most part, Isaiah is an individual that takes pride in himself.
Neither Jamin Mason nor his family attended the sentencing.
Presiding Judge Anna Laurie said she knew many of the people who had written letters in support of Shepherd and respected their judgement. She said it was clear Shepherd had been well brought-up by his parents.
It is also clear to me you fell from that path at some point, Laurie added.
She opted to split the difference of the two requests and sentence Shepherd to 18 total months in prison. Laurie also waived the expert witness fees because she said it was unlikely Shepherd who is indigent would ever be able to repay the $1,000-plus in court fees levied against him.
Mr. Shepherd, Laurie concluded, everyone here hopes this is your last encounter with the law enforcement system. Dont come back.
Shepherds burglary trial is currently scheduled for June 9.