CHICAGO (CBS) — The teenager who shot and killed 14-year-old Endia Martin in 2014, during a fight with another girl over a boy, has been sentenced to the maximum juvenile term, which would see her spend no longer than two more years in custody.
The defendant, who is not being identified because she was charged as a juvenile, pleaded guilty in January to first-degree murder in Endia’s death. She also pleaded guilty to attempted murder in the shooting of Endia’s best friend, Lanekia Reynolds.
A Juvenile Court judge handed down the maximum sentence on Wednesday. The sentence means she could be paroled as early as April 2019, but could be held in custody until she turns 21 in two years.
At her sentencing hearing on Wednesday, the teen — who turns 19 next week — began to read a letter of apology to Endia’s family, but broke down in tears. Her attorney read the letter, which said, “I am sorry for what may be your greatest heartbreak.”
“My intentions were not to hurt Endia. The conflict we were going through did not directly involve your daughter,” the letter said. “I understand there are not enough sorries to say.”
The shooting stemmed from a fight over a boy at school. The feud between Lanekia and the shooter escalated on Facebook, and the two planned to fight after school on April 28, 2014.
Prosecutors said the teen called her uncle, Donnell Flora, asking for a gun to bring to the fight. Another relative helped her fix the gun when it jammed as she tried to shoot at Endia and Lanekia the first time. Flora, who was paralyzed when he was shot in 2014, was sentenced to 100 years in prison after he was convicted of murder for his role in the shooting.
At the teen’s sentencing, Endia’s family said her death changed their lives forever. They said Endia’s sister can’t stop blaming herself, because she wasn’t there to protect Endia.
Prosecutors said the teen who killed Endia was “given a gift” by being allowed to stay in the juvenile justice system, rather than being tried as an adult.
Judge Stewart Katz said, despite his nearly 35 years in law, he is “still amazed and appalled at the lack of respect for the sanctity of human life.”
“This is beyond stupid obviously,” he said.