'My heart will never let her go': Man gets life sentence for 2019 murder
At age 17, Emily Shoemaker already knew she wanted to become a nurse.
But the Dover-area teen’s dreams were cut short when bullets tore through her car and into her, killing her, during a vehicle chase and shootout at twilight on a December evening in 2019.
“My heart will never let her go,” her mother, Christine Shoemaker, said in a statement to the court.
Christine, along with Emily’s father, Steve, and other members of the family, filled seats on one side of a courtroom gallery Friday to watch the convicted shooter, DaiQuan Dickerson, face a life prison sentence. Dickerson’s family took seats on the other side of the room behind him.
A jury found the 20-year-old from Red Lion guilty of first-degree murder and counts of attempted murder, aggravated assault and carrying a handgun without a permit at the end of his trial March 22. The murder conviction alone carries a mandatory term of life in prison without the possibility of parole under Pennsylvania state law.
“He hurt my family and took away my daughter,” Steve Shoemaker said in a statement. “How can he sleep at night knowing he is the only person who killed my daughter.”
Both statements were read to the court by senior deputy prosecutor Kara Bowser as part of the hearing.
According to evidence at trial, Dickerson was allegedly a pot supplier to a dealer and co-defendant, Sterling Frantz, and was staying at Frantz’s apartment along North Newberry Street.
Testimony: On the afternoon of Dec. 12, 2019, Frantz alleged two boys, Furhman Dennis and Tyrese Dugan, robbed him of a half-ounce of weed and cash while he was selling the pot to Emily in her car outside his building and that Emily Shoemaker had helped set him up.
Frantz complained to Dickerson about the hold-up, and a short time later Dickerson asked him to go for a ride with him.
They drove around and found Emily’s green Kia Soul near downtown and then started following her. At College Avenue, Dickerson’s car swerved into the oncoming lane and came up next to the Soul.
Investigators alleged Dickerson opened fire with a handgun, shooting across Frantz in the passenger seat, through the passenger window of his car and into Emily’s car as the vehicles drove near William Penn Senior High School.
Dickerson’s car peeled away and turned onto Pershing Avenue as he and Frantz went home. Emily’s car kept driving forward on College until it crashed into a tree near Cookes House Lane.
Emily died at the scene. Dugan was shot and injured as he rode in the car, and Dennis was apparently injured in the crash.
“It was an extremely reckless, dangerous thing to do over a small amount of marijuana,” Bowser said.
Common Pleas Judge Gregory Snyder sentenced Dickerson to life in prison on the murder charge and then added a 20-40-year term on top of that for the attempted murder and gun charges. The aggravated assault count merged with attempted murder for sentencing.
“There’s really not much the court can say about the taking of the life of a young woman over a couple bucks,” Snyder said. “Nonetheless, we believe that justice has been served.”
The statement prompted an outburst of disagreement from a person sitting behind Dickerson and his attorney.
Dickerson expressed sympathy to the family and insisted again he’s innocent, that he didn’t pull the trigger.
“I just want to give my sympathy out to the family even though I wasn’t the shooter,” he said.
He said he intends to appeal the verdict and sentence.
“I loved Emily very much. I miss her, and I just love her so much,” Christine Shoemaker said after the hearing. “Tell parents to keep their kids away from drugs and to appreciate their children.”
She spoke via American Sign Language, and an interpreter provided translation.
Steve Shoemaker advocated for stronger gun control laws, with better background and criminal record checks, in order to crack down on youths purchasing firearms.
“They need to stop that, block that access,” he said. “If they would try to cut back on the guns on the streets, it might help for people not getting hurt. I hate guns.”
At trial, Dickerson and Frantz pointed the finger at each other, with each testifying the other was the shooter.
While Dickerson was convicted of murder, Frantz, 23, pleaded guilty May 17 to a felony count of aggravated assault. First- and third-degree murder charges, along with a conspiracy count, were dismissed as part of the plea.
He faces a sentence of three and a half to seven years in prison at a hearing scheduled for June 28.
Caylah Webb, 23, who was Dickerson’s girlfriend at the time of the shooting, also pleaded guilty May 17 to a misdemeanor count of obstruction of justice. She was sentenced to the guilty conviction with no further punishment other than to pay costs for prosecution.
Webb already did jail time and supervised release after she was arrested as part of the homicide investigation.
— Reach Aimee Ambrose at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @aimee_TYD.