Judge at sentencing: Hampton murder case was ‘travesty of justice’
The man accused of firing the fatal bullet in the 2013 Flanders home invasion that led to the death of Demitri Hampton attempt to retract his plea agreement at his sentencing Friday in a wild turn of events that saw him have to be removed from the courtroom.
Ultimately, though, Messiah Booker is headed upstate on a five year prison sentence after a Suffolk County Supreme Court Judge declined to honor his request.
Friday’s courtroom theatrics followed an unusual trial that saw Mr. Booker offered the plea deal last month after his attorney learned a prosecutor had withheld more than 100 pages of notes from the defense.
“It was clear that Mr. Hampton had a bright future, and every indication was that he was going to be a successful young man,” Judge John Collins said at sentencing Friday, where he called the end result a “travesty of justice.”
“It’s clear that someone got away with murder,” the judge said.
Mr. Booker’s outburst came after assistant district attorney Janet Albertson apologized to Mr. Hampton’s family and began to formally recommend the five year sentence on a second-degree attempted burglary charge. Mr. Booker had been facing felony murder.
“I didn’t murder nobody,” he began yelling. After refusing to calm down, guards escorted him from the courtroom.
Mr. Booker, 32, later returned and read a prepared statement criticizing the DA’s office, including trial prosecutor Glenn Kurtzrock, who resigned from his position immediately following the guilty plea last month. He said he was “hyperventilating” when he accepted the plea deal.
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In her statement to the court, Mr. Hampton’s mother, Juanita Trent, explained her 21-year-old son’s plans for an adult life he never got to lead.
“Demetri was a happy and intelligent young man who attended Suffolk Community College,” Ms. Trent said as her older son, Jamal Davis, held up a photograph of his brother. “His plan after graduation was to enlist in the Air Force to continue his education, ironically, in criminal justice. The very thing that brought our family to this court.”
Ms. Trent praised her son for confronting the burglars who entered the home at 3 a.m. on Jan. 27, 2013, saying he fought to defend his family members in the home.
“He fought tireless for his loved ones and his life,” she said.
Cases, each in various stages, remain pending against three more suspects in the case — all of whom were initially charged with second-degree murder and first-degree burglary. Mr. Booker’s brother, Corry Wallace, previously accepted a plea deal in exchange for testimony at his brother’s trial. He has not yet been sentenced.