Brent stood in his dark blue prison uniform, facing only Judge William Jackson and looking at the ground throughout the sentencing, never once glancing at Fleming’s family as they spoke to the judge of their son and brother.
Brent turned to the family only once, to give a brief statement. He recounted the time he spent with Fleming’s family and said he still hopes to be a good godfather to Fleming’s son. His defense attorney said Brent has sought therapy since the shooting.
“I can’t ever stop thinking about it. I think about it more and more every day, Why us?” Brent said, reading from a lined sheet of paper. “I loved Lug and looked up to him. You all know I’m not a bad person and that I’d never harm anybody. Please, just give me a chance.”
Brent pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in February after fatally shooting Fleming in a game of Russian Roulette.
“[We have] one person who’s life was taken, another person who’s life is ruined, a family who is grieving, a defendant who is grieving,” Judge Jackson said. “I’m not sure — I can understand why members of the family ask for a long lengthy sentence … that’s a measure of how they feel about the loss, but as a judge … I’m asking myself what’s the added value of having a young man like this in prison?”
Fleming’s father, two sisters and the mother of his baby son all spoke, asking for the maximum sentence of seven years.
“Initially, I understood that it was partly an accident, that it was likely an accident. But I don’t condone that a gun can be willfully pointed at someone and a trigger pulled,” Fleming’s father told the court.
One of Fleming’s sisters, who is 17 years older than him, said her two children are devastated by the death of their uncle.
“My 6-year-old doesn’t understand why his favorite person in the world, his uncle, isn’t coming back,” she said, adding that her son hated when she and her husband left the house. “He would scream and holler and cry because he thought we weren’t coming back like Uncle Lugus.”
Brent was sentenced under the Youth Rehabilitation Act, meaning the conviction could possibly be cleared from Brent’s record if certain conditions are met.