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Man gets 32 years in honor student’s death

Associated Press / March 25, 2011

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CHICAGO — A Chicago man caught on video jumping into the air and, prosecutors say, landing full force on the head of a prone honors student during the teen’s fatal beating was sentenced yesterday to 32 years in prison. The judge said a severe sentence was warranted because the victim was defenseless.

Circuit Court Judge Nicholas Ford sentenced Silvonus Shannon, 20, after a more than hourlong hearing during which Shannon begged for forgiveness from the family of Derrion Albert.

“There’s no apology you could ever give me that I would forgive you. You helped destroy a family,’’ said Albert’s mother, Anjanette, who during the trial had to watch the video of the attack on her son in 2009. Derrion Albert was 16 years old.

Shannon’s attorney, Robert Byman, pleaded with Ford to impose a sentence no longer than the 26-year term he gave to another defendant, Eric Carson, who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. Byman said Carson was far more active in the fight, striking Albert 19 times and hitting him with a wooden board.

Ford, who presided over the trial in which a jury found Shannon guilty of first-degree murder, was not persuaded, angrily pointing out that at least Albert was standing when Carson was striking him and not, as the video showed, lying helpless.

It was clear that Shannon, who was schoolmates with Albert, could see he would receive a stiff sentence, and he held his head in his hands when Ford handed it down.

The attack came during a six-month period in 2009 when more than 20 Chicago public school students were killed, and it prompted the Police Department to take steps to increase security around schools.

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