Nineteen-year-old Jamaal Greene was sentenced Friday to 8 ½ to 20 years in state prison for his role in the death of Alexis Barnett, who was the same age when she was fatally shot while walking with friends last year in the city.
“I love my daughter,” Larry Thompson, Barnett’s father, said during a hearing before Washington County Judge Gary Gilman. “I will never get the vision out of my my mind of seeing my baby dead because of stupidity.”
Handing down the sentence, Gilman accepted the agreement between Chief Public Defender Glenn Alterio, who represented Greene, and Assistant District Attorney Jason Walsh.
Greene, of Jollick Manor, pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to commit homicide. City police alleged he had dropped off Tavian Hooper, also 19, of Washington, before Hooper allegedly shot Barnett. The intended target of the May 4, 2016, nighttime shooting reportedly was Edwin “Cheeno” Rivera, 26, with whom Greene and Hooper had “bad blood,” according to police. Barnett’s friend Jasmine Young was shot in her lower left leg.
Greene declined to address the court during the proceeding. Hooper is awaiting trial on criminal homicide and other charges.
A victim’s advocate read a statement by Barnett’s mother, Anissa Thompson, who was present but was unable to speak. The bereaved mother wondered “what these young men were thinking” and questioned why someone would “shoot into a crowd of people.”
She also referred to a photo the Observer-Reporter ran of Greene and Hooper smiling as they were escorted to a hearing last year, “grinning from ear to ear.” She wrote: “They say a picture is worth a thousand words. The picture of you two headed to the courthouse says it all.”
She also said it was unfair Greene would still be young enough for a second chance at life when he was released.
Gilman called the sentence “reasonable,” even if “at the end of the day that does not bring justice” for the victim’s death.
Alterio said it was within the standard range of the sentencing guidelines.
“There would have been a lesser sentence in return for his cooperation against (Hooper), but he was unwilling to do that,” Alterio said afterward.
In an affidavit of probable cause supporting charges against Greene, police said members of a group that included Barnett, Young and Rivera saw Hooper and Greene in a silver vehicle with Greene driving. The pair allegedly made hand gestures mimicking a handgun and said “boom, boom” when they spotted Rivera before Greene did a U-turn and pursued Rivera, who fled before Greene pulled over and let Hooper out. A juvenile witness who also had been in the vehicle reportedly told police she heard Greene tell Hooper “to put your hoodie up skin tight” before the shooting.
Police said Greene admitted to dropping off Hooper that night when they interviewed him the following day.
Barnett was pronounced dead at Washington hospital later that night.
During his testimony, Larry Thompson – who testified in a T-shirt bearing the words “Justice for Alexis” – also chastised Greene for his decision to protect Hooper and described having to identify his daughter for the coroner.
“I’ve got to say my daughter has lost her sister,” he said. “I’ve got to say my kids have lost their sister.”