Teen gets five years for Brundage murder
Tue, 29 Sep 2009 11:12:20 GMT —
Community activist Robert Brundage's 16-year-old killer received the maximum sentence in juvenile court Tuesday.
Dai'Lahntae Jemison will spend up to five years in the Department of Youth Services.
NBC24 was in the courtroom for the emotional day.
"Everyday I wake up and I always have to think about what happened because of my stupid decision and hanging out with the wrong people. I never would have seen myself in this place before in life," said Jemison.
But there he was.
Standing handcuffed before a judge, having to admitted to punching 66-year-old Robert Brundage off of his bike, leading to his death.
Jemison's attorney argued the teen only wanted the bicycle.
"There was one punch to separate Dr. Brundage from the bike. He wanted the bike to go back riding with his friends," said Joanne Rubin.
Jemison's father told the judge his son was a victim of peer pressure.
"I would like to apologize to my son Dai'Lahntae for not being there and being the father I know I could have been," said his father.
Dai'Lahntae himself could only say he was sorry.
"I'm just so sorry. I don't even know how to explain it. I don't even know how to explain," he said.
But for Brundage's family those words are not enough.
"What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say," said Dick Brundage, the victim's brother.
They hope that Dai'Lahntae will learn to give back to the community as Robert did.
"Dedicate yourself to saying 'I can make things better for myself and the people around me if I try.' And it will not be easy but you can try," said Brundage.
In the end, Judge Connie Zemmelmen decided that Dai'Lahntae's actions justified the maximum punishment.
"The serious nature of this offense requires commitment to the Department of Youth Services. We must respect the fact that a death occurred as a result of your act," said Zemmelman.
Zemmelman does have the power to reduce Jemison's sentence at any time.
It is common that punishments go under review after half of the term has been served.