Man gets 150 years in girl's death

October 28, 2009 2:52:25 PM PDT
Carail Weeks, 28, was sentenced to 150 years in prison for the murder of 14-year-old Starkesia Reed. Reed, an honor student, was an innocent bystander when Weeks opened fire on two drug dealers in 2006.

Weeks, who was 24 at the time of the shooting, did not speak at the sentencing hearing. However, he watched and listened as Reed's mother addressed the court. She urged him not to "rot in jail with bitterness? but instead to do something positive to encourage others not to follow his example."

Weeks faced a minimum of 51 years, but received a sentence of almost three times that.

There is a sense of relief from members of Reed's family as they leave the courtroom that their nearly 4 year long ordeal is over and that the man who killed girl as she got ready for school will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.

"To have this trial behind us, we're thankful for that. We're glad it's over. Now our family can grieve and go on with our lives," said Denise Reed.

Reed attended Harper High School and aspired to become a doctor.

In court, prosecutors said Carail Weeks, then 24, had a beef with two drug dealers who lived in her neighborhood so he opened fire with an AK 47 and sprayed bullets. One of the bullets struck Reed in the head, killing her. He was convicted in September 2009.

Her mother read a victim's impact statement in court: "The sudden death of my innocent 14-year-old daughter should never be forgotten... The life of the Reed family will never be the same."

Judge Joseph Kazmierski said he took that statement into account as he sentenced Weeks to 150 years.

Weeks' family members-- who preferred not to be identified-- admit the gun belonged to weeks. But they say he was not the shooter.

"The sentence was outrageous," said one family member. "Our heart goes out to her and to her loss of her baby? But I believe Carail is innocent and he will get out."

The shooting sparked community outrage and extensive media coverage. Prosecutors say they are confident the right guy will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

"Any time you shoot a gun in a manner like he did it's an appropriate sentence. I don't know if the outrage associated with that killing had anything to do with that," said Jim Papa, asst. states attorney.

Denise Reed said she has no hate in her heart for Weeks and little reaction to the stiff sentence.

"I couldn't allow my emotions to get wrapped up in the number of years. It still will not bring my daughter back," said Reed.

This was Weeks' second trial. The first ended in a mistrial last December.

At that time, sources said prosecutors offered a plea bargain for a significantly shorter sentence, but Weeks refused.

Weeks plans to appeal the verdict.


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