Two sentenced as accessories after fact in death
Published 2:48 am Saturday, January 17, 2004
By By MARCIA STEFFENS / Niles Daily Star
CASSOPOLIS -- The body of Damon Charles Burroughs, 37, of Union was found on North Street in Jefferson Township on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2003, two days after he had been shot with a 22 caliber long rifle.
The two men who helped convict the killer Ahmed Williams-El, 22, of Vandalia, were sentenced Friday in Cass County Circuit Court by Judge Michael E. Dodge for being accessories after the fact.
Raymond Washington, 28, 104 Hilton St., Cassopolis told the court of his fear he would also become a victim, after Burroughs was shot.
Washington "went around with a thug and evil person," said Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz, "with someone who shot someone in the back. Have you heard the phrase 'guilt by association?' " said Fitz.
There is "strength in numbers," added Fitz, but said Washington did help convict Williams-El with his testimony.
Washington was told to bury the gun, which he wiped off and put in plastic and buried. "I was scared that day. I couldn't believe it. I was scared for my life," Washington told Dodge. "People can say what they would have done," he added, but they don't know until they are in that situation.
Still Washington continued to hang out with Williams-El for a few days following the murder. "You didn't stop it and you didn't report it," said Dodge. The gun was found in a wooded area next to the Hill St. Apartments in Cassopolis.
He was sentenced to the Michigan Department of Corrections for 23 months to five years, with credit for 443 days. he is to pay $350 attorney fees, $60 Crime Victims' Fund, and $60 state assessment fee.
His cousin, Renaldo Florence, 22, 306 Water St., Cassopolis was also charged with felony firearm.
Florence was driving the vehicle when they went to a house and Williams-El came out with a rifle, which was put in the trunk. On order, Florence "popped the trunk" before the robbery and murder of his friend Burroughs.
He "allowed himself to be a follower," said Fitz, "when he got the gun, when he talked about the robbery. He went along."
After putting the gun in the vehicle they stopped at the BP gas station in Cassopolis, Dodge said, they saw Florence's friend. They stopped so Burroughs could buy marijuana.
He had "great potential," Fitz added of Florence, and should have "fled when someone talks about doing a crime."
Attorney Dale Blunier told of Florence's letter of thanks, for his work as his attorney. Thanks he could "count on one hand" as receiving.
In other sentencings:
Their nervous giggling was an attempt to keep the tears from coming, said Fitz, but they were unsuccessful, saying their lives are changed forever. The two girls asked that he be given a life sentenced. Blunier's defense that Clark's son had been murdered didn't have much merit with Dodge, who added a previous CSC of the same nature "Predated the loss of his son." He was "sympathetic," said Dodge, but it was "no excuse."
Clark was sentenced to the Michigan Department of Corrections for two concurrent sentences of three and a half years to 15 years, with 95 days credit. He is to pay two $60 payments to the Crime Victims' Fund, and $60 state assessment fee.
He is to pay $60 and $40 to the Crime Victims' Fund, $60 and $40 state assessment fees.
Cole's attorney told Dodge Cole realized he had an alcohol problem and had completed classes at Woodlands.
With previous arrests for drunk or impaired driving, where he did not have any jail time, Dodge sent him to the Cass County jail for 60 days, with credit for three days. He is also on probation for two years.
He is to pay $960 probation fees, $60 Crime Victims' Fund, $60 state assessment fee, $450 court costs, and $150 attorney fees.
He was sentenced to two years probation for attempted assault with a dangerous weapon.
He is to pay $960 probation fees, $60 Crime Victims' Fund, $60 state assessment fee, and $450 court costs.
If the probation officer recommends anger management classes, Dodge added, they will be part of his probation.
She said it was the first time he had been physically violent, as he held a knife to her throat, said Dodge.
He was put on probation for 18 months and is to spend 150 days in the Cass County Jail, with credit for 2 days. He is to pay a $300 fine, $350 attorney fees, $60 Crime Victims' Fund, $60 state assessment fee, and $450 court costs.
He was sentenced to 180 days in the Cass County Jail, with credit for 69 days and 93 days, with 69 days credit for the domestic violence charge. He is to pay two $60 payments to the Crime Victims' Fund, and $60 and $40 state assessment fee.
On Oct. 3, 2003, she gave the pharmacist a prescription for Vicodin which she had change to read 80 pills instead of 30. When he called the police she left the store without the drugs.
She is to pay 480 probation fees, $60 Crime Victims' Fund, $60 state assessment fee, $250 attorney fees, and $450 court costs.