The death, Pannell told Judge Thomas Motley when pleading guilty, was unintentional.
“He was trying to hurt someone that I loved and I kinda just lost it,” Pannell told Motley when entering his plea. “I didn’t really have time to think and realize what I was doing.”
According to court documents, Bailey was in a fight with a woman in a Northeast DC parking lot. Pannell broke into the fight and stabbed Bailey at least four times, breaking one of his ribs and puncturing his lung.
On Wednesday Motley said that the crime appeared to have taken place in the heat of passion and with sufficient provocation to merit the plea of voluntary manslaughter while armed and a sentence of 11 years in prison.
Bailey’s family attending the sentencing and asked Motley simply that Pannell’s sentence be serious enough to prevent similar crimes from occurring in the future.
“Had [Pannell’s] anger passed, we wouldn’t be here today under those circumstances,” Bailey’s cousin said. “There’s never justification for the taking of a human life. It’s stepping beyond human boundaries and acting like God.”
Bailey’s cousin said that Bailey, though he had gotten into trouble as a youth, had turned his life around and was a respected member of the Edgewood community where he coached youth and ran errands for seniors.
“We were proud of the person that he had become,” the cousin said.
Pannell’s words at sentencing were simple. “I apologize for my actions,” he said. “I didn’t mean for it to go the way it went.”