Dempsey, 34, died December 13, 2010, more than three years after being beaten in the face with a brick; his death was ruled a homicide in January 2011.
Shabazz was arrested in March 2011 and denied any involvement in the incident, claiming he was out of state at the time. Four days before his scheduled trial date, though, Shabazz pled guilty to one count of voluntary manslaughter in connection with the case; the first-degree murder charge was dismissed.
“I want to apologize to you as well as your family,” Shabazz told Dempsey’s brother at Shabazz’s sentencing Friday.
Shabbazz’s defense attorney, William Roberts, and prosecutors agreed to the 12 year sentence, which was approved by Judge William Jackson. Roberts told the judge that Shabazz is looking forward to becoming a positive influence in the community upon his release.
“Mr. Shabazz tried to play the peacemaker in someone else’s dispute and things went horribly,” Roberts said. “Mr. Shabazz does not deny that. He surely has a great deal of sympathy for Mr. Dempsey’s family.”
According to the government’s evidence in the case, on June 30, 2007, Shabazz and Dempsey exchanged punches after Shabazz became angry with Dempsey for fighting with a woman. After the brief altercation, Shabazz followed Dempsey for about a block, then picked up a landscaping brick and struck Dempsey in the skull. As Dempsey lay on the ground, Shabazz hit him a second time. Then, a group of young teenagers who had been following the incident began kicking Dempsey.
After the beating, Dempsey lapsed into a coma; he was hospitalized and transferred to a series of nursing homes until he died in Dec. 2010 from injuries to his brain.
James Sherrod Sr., Dempsey’s brother, listed Dempsey under an alias while he lay in the hospital in order to keep him safe from further attacks, and even began his own investigation into his brother’s death and convinced a crucial witness to work with cold case detectives to put together a case, according to court documents.
Sentencing documents have been added to this post.