Franklin man gets life in prison

Published 9:39 am Wednesday, July 25, 2012

COURTLAND—Rasheed Brown’s three sons will grow up without their father.

Brown, 23, on Tuesday was sentenced to life in prison for murdering Darrin Lee, 28, despite a plea from his mother, who is worried about his 5-, 6- and 7-year-old sons growing up without their dad.

“They talk about school and he tries to provide support over the phone,” LaTonya Williams testified during her son’s sentencing hearing in Southampton County Circuit Court.

Brown’s oldest son is a straight “A” student, Williams said.

Brown on March 13 was convicted of the kidnapping and shooting death of Lee on Oct. 7, 2010, at Southampton Meadows Mobile Home Park. Judge J. Warren Stephens followed the jury’s recommendation and sentenced Brown to life in prison plus 33 years.

This followed a failed attempt by Brown’s attorney, Stephanie Pass, to have the judge set aside the verdict due to what she said was a lack of forensic evidence and unreliable witnesses. Brown plans to appeal.

Commonwealth Attorney Eric Cooke argued that the jury found the witnesses to be credible and noted, “there was credible evidence in this case in a large amount.”

Brown told the court he didn’t feel he got a fair trial because the jury had “eleven, 60-year-old women” on it.

“I feel nothing about this system is fair,” he said.

Cooke said the pre-sentence report showed that Brown admitted to being in the Cypress Manor Park Gang in Suffolk and had been convicted of gang activity. He added that in 2004, Brown had been convicted of burglary and received a five-year sentence for attempted malicious wounding in Suffolk in 2010.

“This man has been on a collision course with the law for most of his life,” Cooke said.