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Caddo DA says he will appeal light sentence given to teen

Caddo Parish, LA - The Caddo Parish District Attorney has announced plans to appeal a sentence given to a teen Wednesday who admitted to a violent crime against an elderly couple in late 2018. 

According to a statement released by Caddo Parish District Attorney James E. Stewart Sr., the sentence handed down for 14-year-old Antonio Bernard Smith by Judge Paul Young is too light, given the violent nature of the crime and the extensive mental and physical damage done to to the victims. 

Smith admitted in late January to the charge of simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling in the October 31, 2018 burglary of the home of an elderly couple on Poleman Street in Shreveport.

Surveillance video in the home of the victims showed four individuals breaking into the couple’s vehicle, which was located under an attached garage. One of the accused, 15-year-old Darryeon Thomas, fired a shot that struck the 78-year-old female victim in her left knee. The victim’s husband then returned fire.

According to the DA's statement, Smith’s sentencing hearing before Judge Paul Young included testimony from the female victim and her husband about the extensive physical and mental damage caused by the burglary, and the state presented letters from their family members, as well as records of the woman’s mental health professional.

"Despite the evidence presented by the state, Judge Young gave Smith a suspended sentence of two years and placed him on active supervised probation for 18 months.

Prosecutors strenuously objected to the lenient sentence, which included no period of incarceration, and advised the court of its intent to appeal the sentence.

A probation sentence in an armed robbery of a citizen’s home where the elderly victim is shot is not acceptable,” D.A. Stewart said. “We will allow the Court of Appeal to address and correct this too-lenient sentence. Having two separate judges hear one case involving juvenile co-defendants is absurd.”

Two of the four defendants already have been sentenced in the case, receiving terms in custody. Shooter Darryeon Thomas admitted to aggravated battery, illegal possession of a stolen firearm and aggravated burglary. He was sentenced January 28, 2019, by Caddo Parish Juvenile Judge Ree Casey-Jones to serve juvenile life on all three counts. Jonathon Montgomery, 15, admitted to aggravated burglary and was sentenced by Judge Casey-Jones on November 16, 2018, to serve 18 months. She suspended all but six months of the sentence and upon release will be on probation until his 18th birthday.

Louisiana Children’s Code article 879 provides that all proceedings in a juvenile delinquency case involving a crime of violence shall be open to the public.

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