“Five days earlier you were the victim,” Judge Russell Canan told James Walter Yates III before his sentencing. “But you provoked all of this.”
History between the two men could not hide the “cold facts” that Yates sought out revenge against Joyner, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Kravis argued Friday.
Joyner, 29, was found by police unconscious and unresponsive, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, across the street from Ludlow-Taylor Elementary School.
Kravis said Friday that Yates went to the 600 block of Morris Place Northeast at around 3 p.m., while children were just getting out of school, pulled up to Joyner, exchanged heated words and fired a gun.
Defense Attorney Madalyn Harvey argued that Joyner had threatened Yates and the mother of his child with a gun and this was not “cold-blooded,” but rather, an act out of fear.
“We have a young man here that pulled a gun out on Yates five days earlier, and Mr. Yates was afraid,” Harvey said. “The tables could have been turned and Mr. Joyner could’ve been standing here.”
Yates emotionally addressed the court: “I feel like I made the biggest mistake of my life,” he said. “I had a good life.”
He added: “I don’t know what came over me. I know I have to be away for a while.”
Before delivering his ruling, Judge Canan told the court, “At the age of 29 with no prior record, this is a strange case.”
Outside of the courtroom, Joyner’s college roommate, Daryl Wiggins, said he didn’t agree with the sentencing and that Joyner was a good person. “I don’t think it’s fair. You took a life,” Wiggins said. “Andre Joyner was a great man.”