Man gets 32 years in Albert beating death

March 24, 2011 3:52:13 PM PDT
A judge sentenced a Chicago man to 32 years in prison in the fatal beating of a high school honor student that was captured on video.

Silvonus Shannon was convicted in January. He is one of five people charged in the 2009 videotaped beating death of Fenger High School student Derrion Albert.

Despite requests for mercy, even by some jurors who convicted Shannon, Judge Nicholas Ford says he gave the 20-year-old a lengthy sentence because Shannon kicked Albert while the 16-year-old was defenseless on the ground.

"The judge seemed to think that 32 years was fair. We agree. We have no problem with it. The only difficulty we have is going on without Derrion. We won't be able to see him for 32 years," said Norman Gollitay, Albert's grandfather.

Shannon's family was visibly distraught after the sentence was handed down.

Prior to being sentenced, Shannon turned to the Albert family and apologized. He also asked for forgiveness, something Derrion's mother said in court she was not willing to give him.

Albert's grandfather says an apology doesn't change the outcome.

"He may have been sincere. I don't doubt that, but it don't really help us. He still gets to see his family on visitors day. He still gets to graduate high school. Derrion can't graduate," Gollitay said.

But remorse is something Shannon's lawyer says the judge should have considered.

"He was remorseful at his arrest. He was remorseful at trial. He was remorseful today. He was remorseful to his teachers," said Bob Byman, defense attorney.

Byman argued that it was unfair to give Shannon a bigger sentence than one of his his co-defendants. Eric Carson recieved 26 years in prison after accepting a deal to plead guilty. In addition, Byman says Shannon had no prior criminal record.

"We are talking about a 19-year-old kid who was a good kid, spent his life being a good kid. And because of 11 seconds he is looking at mabye being 52 when he gets out prison. That's kind of a daunting thing to happen," said Byman.

At the sentencing hearing, several relatives and a Fenger High School teacher spoke on behalf of Shannon.

Albert's relatives, including his mother, told the judge how Shannon destroyed their family.

Shannon's lawyer plans to appeal. He is one of three people convicted in the beating death. Two other defendants are awaiting trial in the case.

The September 2009 beating death garnered national attention after it was captured on video from a cell phone.