York pot dealer gets 5-10 years for killing teen who robbed him
A York City marijuana dealer apologized Tuesday to the family of the 17-year-old he shot and killed as the teen was robbing him in 2018.
At his sentencing hearing, Marquise Anton Stanley read from a prepared letter after asking whether he could turn to face his victim's family. Presiding York County Common Pleas Judge Maria Musti Cook allowed that.
"My deepest and sincerest apologies for the loss of young Ruban's life," Stanley told the family of Ruban Dejesus, then said he knows his words won't ease their pain.
"There's no excuse for my actions," Stanley said. "Being raised in a God-fearing household and being a God-fearing man, I understand that."
Stanley noted in court that his family and Dejesus' family have been friends for about 20 years, although Dejesus was only 6 or 7 when Stanley last saw him.
"I stand before you today to ask for your forgiveness, though I may be undeserving," he said. "No parent should have to bury their child. ... I am forever apologetic and indebted to you all."
Noting she doesn't often hear defendants take responsibility for their crimes, Cook imposed the punishment requested by first deputy district attorney Seth Bortner and recommended in a pre-sentence investigation report submitted by the county probation department.
She sentenced Stanley to five to 10 years in state prison, plus a year of probation, and ordered him to pay $5,878 in restitution for funeral expenses to Dejesus' mother, Jenica Smith. The judge gave Stanley credit for the 603 days he has already spent locked up.
Defense attorney Rick Robinson had asked for a time-served sentence.
"No one forced him to carry a weapon that evening, and the result of him carrying that weapon is the loss of a young man's life that can never be retrieved," Cook said.
Acquitted of murder: A jury in January convicted Stanley of the third-degree felony of carrying a firearm without a license and the misdemeanor of involuntary manslaughter but acquitted him of first- and third-degree murder charges.
Smith's sister, Latoya Smith, spoke in court on behalf of the family, saying she remembers her nephew as "the kid with the big smile ... (who) was loved by many and will be dearly missed."
"Everyone involved got deals to lie ... to make it all my nephew's fault, when he was coerced by a car full of adults," she said. "Because some cowards decided they wanted marijuana and didn't want to pay for it."
Latoya Smith said she believes Stanley was sincere in his apology and accepts it, adding she considers him a victim as well.
Robinson noted in court that trial testimony indicates Dejesus and Marquis Butts were directed to rob Stanley by Dejesus' cousin, Kaishan Hudson, who has never been charged in the case.
It was Hudson, 31, who set up a meeting with Stanley to sell him $90 worth of marijuana, then waited in a car while his underage cousin and Butts robbed Stanley about 11:30 p.m. Oct. 21, 2018, trial testimony indicated.
After Dejesus was shot, Butts ran back to the car and he, Hudson and others took off, leaving the teen to die, according to testimony.
Case 'is not over': Butts, 22, was initially charged with murder, but those charges were dropped and he later pleaded guilty to robbery, according to Bortner. Butts testified against Stanley at trial and, as part of a negotiated plea agreement, was sentenced to 256 days in York County Prison, which was a time-served sentence.
"It still boggles my mind that Mr. Hudson wasn't charged," Robinson told the judge.
"The case against Kaishan Hudson is not over," Bortner said in court. "A lot of people made bad decisions that night."
Robinson noted in court that Stanley has four children, ages 6 to 15, and coached basketball in the community.
At trial, the defense attorney argued that Stanley feared for his life as he was being robbed and believed he was going to be shot. Trial testimony indicated Dejesus acted as if he had a gun in his pocket.
— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.