Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe
A Mattapan man was sentenced today to 6 to 8 years in prison for providing a fellow gang member with the gun used to kill 13-year-old Steven Odom almost three years ago. The sentence followed an emotional hearing in which the boy's parents urged their son's killer to repent and turn his life around.
David Johnson, 19, pleaded guilty in Suffolk Superior Court to charges of being an accessory before the fact of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, being an accessory after the fact of murder, and two illegal firearms charges. He faces five years of probation after he completes his prison sentence.
The slaying of Steven Odom, who was walking home from a basketball court, had shocked the city and sparked calls for an end to street violence.
Kim Odom, the boy's mother, told Johnson during her victim impact statement that he had been "selfish, inconsiderate, and ignorant."
But she also said, "David, I believe in forgiveness. I believe in redemption. And I believe in second chances. And I pray that today will be the turning point that will bring you to repentance and that God will develop the good in you."
Johnson could have faced a life sentence for a charge of accessory before the fact of murder, but that charge was dropped by prosecutors.
Prosecutors say Charles Bunch Jr., 18, called Johnson on Oct. 14, 2007 and told him he needed a gun to "handle a rival" on Evans Street in Dorchester. Bunch, who was riding in a car, had mistaken one of Odom's friends as a member of a rival gang, prosecutors say.
Johnson allegedly provided the gun, a .357-caliber Colt Python, and Bunch returned to the street, got out of the car, and opened fire. He fired five or six shots. One of the bullets struck Odom in the head, prosecutors said.
Bunch, who was a senior at Jeremiah Burke High School in Dorchester, would have been charged with first-degree murder had he not died in an unrelated gang shooting on Orlando Street several days later, prosecutors said.
Kim Odom held a framed picture of her son as she testified. She read from his diary.
"The goals that we set are: let go and move on and be honest. The most important things that we have to do is be safe because my father does not like violence," she read.
She also recalled the night of the shooting, saying she panicked when she heard gunshots outside the house.
"As I looked outside, a basketball rolled down the street," she said.
(Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe)
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