Davon Thomas was sentenced Wednesday to four years in prison for voluntary manslaughter in connection with the January 2013 death of 53-year-old Emanuel Campbell, despite prosecutors’ request for an eight year sentence.
“Mr. Thomas started in this event as a victim of a serious crime,” said Judge Russell Canan during Wednesday’s sentencing, “but he took the law into his own hands.”
According to charging documents, Campbell and Thomas got into an argument about vistors in their shared apartment brought over by Thomas. Documents say that Campbell was intoxicated that night and cut Thomas behind his ear during the argument. After being disarmed by another witness, Campbell left the residence, followed by Thomas, who proceed to assault him outside.
Judge Canan said Campbell could have faced charges such as assault with intent to kill if Thomas had walked away and called police after being cut by Campbell.
“Clearly his temper got the best of him,” said Defense Attorney Hickein Craig during Wednesday’s sentencing, “He had every opportunity to walk away and he chose not to.”
Campbell died in the hospital two weeks after the assault from multiple blunt force injuries. According to prosecutors, Campbell spent more than 20 years in prison and suffered from a variety of physical ailments and battled substance abuse.
“Mr. Thomas was aware of Mr. Campbell’s preexisting frailties; but nevertheless he kicked and beat Mr. Campbell, causing multiple fractured ribs, head contusion and internal hemorrhaging,” stated Assistant U.S. Attorney George Pace.
Both men shared the residence with Kathy Green, a long-time friend of Thomas’ family, who said Wednesday that she helped care for Thomas since he was seven months old.
Green also told Homicide Watch that Campbell is not Thomas’ grandfather, contrary to previous reports. Green said Campbell was her ex-boyfriend, and that they let Campbell into their home because he did not have a place to live.
“I know my grandson and he loved people,” said Green who referred to herself as Thomas’ “embraced grandmother.”
“He respected [Campbell] and he loved him,” she said.
After Judge Canan read his sentence, Thomas turned and smiled to friends and family sitting in the courtroom. Some raised their hands saying, “Thank the Lord,” and “We love you, Davon.”
Thomas was also sentenced to 18 months in prison by Judge Rhonda Winston in an unrelated case involving an assault on another inmate inside the jail earlier this year.
Sentencing documents for this case are posted below: