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Miami murder suspect enters plea In criminal court

Posted on September 21, 2009 3:00 AM EST

A defendant in the murder case of nine-year old Sherdavia Jenkins decided at the last minute to enter a guilty plea to a reduced sentence in exchange for testimony against his co-defendant. Leroy Larose entered a guilty plea on September 16, 2009, accepting a seven year prison sentence in exchange for his testimony against Damon Darling, who allegedly killed the young with a bullet from his assault rifle. According to Larose's Miami criminal defense lawyer, he entered into a plea to seven years in prison as opposed to looking at a life sentence.

The allegations suggest that Larose and Darling got involved in a daylight shootout in Miami, Florida which resulted in the death of the young girl. Both defendants were charged with 2nd degree murder and attempted 1st degree murder for their involvement in the shooting. Each Miami criminal attorney for the defendants intended on using self-defense to keep their clients out of prison. According to the plea agreement, Larose will serve seven years in prison followed by 10 years of probation.

The case has always posed problems for the Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office because of the "stand your ground" law implemented by the Florida Legislature in 2005. As a result of Larose's plea, the prosecution will go to trial against Darling. In addition to the murder charges, Darling is also charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon which carries a 3 year minimum jail sentence.

The case is perfect example of the ongoing street violence gripping the streets of Miami. Law enforcement officials say the dispute between Larose and Darling began months before the murder occurred. On the date of the murder, Larose went to Overtown to purchase marijuana and was encountered by Darling and his assault rifle. Although more pre-trial motions are scheduled to be heard, the trial is set to commence this week. The trial is set to be heard before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Marisa Tinkler-Mendez.

To show that good things can come from senseless crimes, a Liberty City "peace park" is being erected in honor of the slain youth. These senseless violent crimes plaque the streets of Miami. One can only wonder how Miami's public will be protected if the budget constraints lead to the reduction in the number of police officers patrolling our streets.

Suspect in Sherdavia Jenkins' Death Makes Plea Deal, The Miami Herald, September 16, 2009.
Categories: Violent Crimes