Siretha White's killer gets 75 years

June 25, 2009 3:19:02 PM PDT
A man convicted in the 2006 shooting death of a young Chicago girl appeared in court on Thursday.Ten-year-old Siretha White was celebrating her birthday in her home when she was shot and killed in 2006.

Moses Phillips was convicted of first-degree murder in March for the shooting death. On Thursday he was sentenced to 75 years in prison.

The victim's attorneys and the defense attorney said they expected he would be sentenced to life in prison.

Several of Phillips' relatives were in court, as were relatives of Siretha. The girl's mother held her head in her hands as the judge read the decision. Her mother, who could not give her own victim's impact statement at the sentencing hearing, did not comment. Her attorney took the stand, instead, and spoke about Siretha's dreams of stardom and how those dreams were taken away by a gunshot, a weight no parent can completely bear.

"I think it is the same thought process that anyone would have, from just thinking of your own childhood, and thinking about the type of things you wish you could celebrate and the type of things you could have and she won't have those things," said Charise Valente, state's attorney.

Phillips was also convicted in the attempted murder of two men over gang issues. He was aiming at those men, who were sitting on the steps of the Englewood home, when the bullet pierced the home and struck Siretha, who was dancing in the living room.

The driver of the car Phillips was riding in during the drive-by was found not guilty in the murder in a 2007 trial.

"I think it was the statements of the eyewitnesses; they made statements to the police originally and recanted those statements when they testified," said Tom Cosgrove, defense attorney, who said Phillips is an innocent man. "Well, that's our position."

Phillips did not get the maximum penalty, which is life in prison. But to a 23-year old man, 75 years is essentially the same thing.

"A lot of focus is on because there was a little girl. I mean my heart goes out to Siretha and her family, but I do know that justice has not been served. My son is not guilty," said Felicia Phillips, murderer's mother.


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