This story was updated at 10:30 a.m., May 29, 2014.
An 18-year-old man from Washington, D.C., was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison — the maximum punishment under Maryland law — for fatally shooting a student through the front door of his family’s home in Glenmont in 2010.
Montgomery County Circuit Judge Mary Beth McCormick suspended all but 50 years of the life sentence against Trenton Robinson.
“I don’t think any judge would take any pleasure in sentencing a child who was 15 when the murder was committed and he is 18 now,” McCormick said just prior to giving the sentence. “But at the end of the day, another child, Doodley Derose, is dead.”
Robinson was convicted in October 2013 for his role in a hoax drug deal that resulted in the death of 19-year-old Doodley Derose.
At around 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 21, 2010, Robinson; codefendant Corey Dreshaun Yates, 24; and a friend of the victim’s arrived at Derose’s family house under the pretext of buying marijuana from Derose.
But instead of a drug deal, Yates and Robinson, who were armed, had set out to rob Derose. At some point during the disturbance, Derose grabbed his friend and pulled him inside the foyer, closing the door on Yates and Robinson.
Two shots were fired through the door. One of the bullets pierced Derose’s chest. Derose died at a local hospital later that evening.
“He was a bright boy with a bright future,” said his father, Linois Derose.
The son of Haitian immigrants, Doodley Derose was a sophomore at Virginia State University and had aspirations of becoming a lawyer. He was home visiting family during Christmas break.
His father was coming down the stairs toward the foyer when the shooting happened. He said he held his dying son until police arrived.
On Wednesday, Robinson told the judge that he wasn’t a bad person.
“I come to you as an innocent man,” he said, standing with his arms folded. Robinson, who had long wavy dreadlocks, was wearing black-rimmed eyeglasses and dressed in a green prison jumpsuit.
Meanwhile, members of his family sobbed loudly from the courtroom. One of his relatives had to leave the proceedings, prompting the judge to call a 10-minute recess.
Before pleading with the judge for leniency, Robinson’s mother, Kim Patten, apologized to Linois Derose.
“I apologize,” she said. “My sympathies go out to you and your family.”
Weeks after the shooting, Yates turned himself in to police, The Gazette reported.
In 2012, he pleaded guilty to first-degree murder for his role in the shooting. He was sentenced to life in prison in 2013. Circuit Judge Eric Johnson suspended all but 20 years of his life sentence.
Yates, a resident of Washington, D.C., also received a life sentence for a separate murder charge in the District, according to court testimony Wednesday.
Robinson was extradited to Montgomery County from the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C., nearly a month later.
A jury found Robinson guilty of first-degree murder, armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, and use of a handgun in the commission of a crime. He was found not guilty of conspiring to commit murder and of premeditated first-degree murder.
Robinson’s mother said after the sentencing that the outcome made her angry.
In addition to felony murder, Robinson received concurrent sentences Wednesday of 20 years for armed robbery, 20 years for conspiracy to commit armed robbery and 10 years for the use of a handgun in the commission of a crime.
Robinson will have to serve at least half of the sentence before he’s eligible for parole. He’ll get credit for the time served since Jan. 5, 2011, when court proceedings began.
Robinson’s attorney, Michael E. Lawler, said the chance of actually being granted parole was unlikely for someone who has received a life sentence, a punishment he described as “inappropriate” for Robinson.
“That’s the sentence for a grown man,” Lawler said.
Lawler, the prosecution and the judge seemed to lay blame on Robinson’s upbringing. He grew up in an environment surrounded by drugs and lacked proper guidance from his parents, they said.
“Mr. Robinson didn’t stand a chance,” said Donna Fenton, an assistant state’s attorney.
Lawler and Fenton were not immediately available after the sentencing. Lawler did not return a request for comment Wednesday.
McCormick said she took into account Robinson’s age and upbringing when considering how she’d rule.
“But a life is a life,” McCormick said. “How many extra chances do you get for that? How do we protect society?”