Sharrod Peppers was sentenced today to nine years in prison for the 2010 slaying of Rodney Bean. Peppers pled guilty to one count of voluntary manslaughter and one count of carrying a pistol without a license in connection with the case in October. He originally pled innocent and denied being anywhere near the shooting.
A teary-eyed Peppers appeared before Judge Ronna Beck Friday, adamant that he acted in self-defense, but willing to take responsibility for his actions.
“I wanna apologize to the Bean family,” Peppers said. “Things just got out of hand. It wasn’t intentional; I was just trying to protect myself. I ain’t no killer.”
Bean and Peppers, who were friends, were having a disagreement over a craps game that took place two months prior to Bean’s death. The argument, however, reached a fevered pitch on the morning of October 30, 2010, according to the government’s proffer of facts.
Peppers told Bean that he would be waiting in the parking lot of a Boys and Girls club in Northwest D.C. According to documents, Peppers waited, armed with a loaded 9mm pistol. And when Bean walked into the lot carrying a gun of his own, the two men opened fire on each other.
“These were two men meeting for a high-noon shootout,” argued Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Kerkhoff during pre-sentence allocution. “And Peppers got the best of Mr. Bean.”
At some point in the shootout, Bean fell face down on the ground, defenseless. Peppers walked over to Bean, who was still alive, stood over his body, and fired several shots into his back.
Bean suffered from six gunshot wounds to his torso and later died at the hospital.
According to the plea documents signed by Peppers, he did not believe he was in danger at the time he stood over Bean.
Defense attorney Brian McDaniel argued that Peppers feared for his life had he let Bean live.
“He didn’t approach him to finish him off,” McDaniel said. “His actions were in the heat of passion.”
Before sentencing, Judge Beck stated that she felt the plea offer was on the lenient side, considering Peppers’s actions after Bean fell to the ground, but she accepted the government’s suggestion for sentencing as reasonable.
Sentencing documents have been added to this post.