Teen gets 8 years for manslaughter

April 20, 1993|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff Writer

An East Baltimore teen-ager was sentenced yesterday to eight years in prison for fatally shooting his girlfriend's 12-year-old sister last year.

Ira Jimmy Martin, 17, had been charged as an adult with first-degree murder, but he pleaded guilty in February to involuntary manslaughter and a handgun charge. Martin admitted shooting Monet Shanette Walker in the face but claimed his gun went off accidentally after the girl grabbed its barrel.

Prosecutor Donna-Lisa McClendon said yesterday that she doubted the truthfulness of that story, but she said she lacked witnesses to prove otherwise. "I don't know why he did what he did," the prosecutor said.

Monet, who attended Francis Scott Key Middle School, died after being shot once in the head April 15, 1992, in an apartment in Lexington Terrace, a West Baltimore public housing project. Martin told police he had his gun in his lap when the girl pulled on the barrel. "I didn't realize it, but my finger was on the trigger, and the gun went off and hit her in the face," he told police, court records show. He said he threw the gun down a trash chute in the building.

"The state doesn't believe the girl was messing with the gun," Ms. McClendon said. She said the victim's older sister, who was then Martin's girlfriend, had just left the room and did not witness the shooting, but said she heard two shots fired.

During yesterday's hearing in Baltimore Circuit Court, Ms. McClendon called for Martin to be sentenced to 10 years in prison -- the maximum term under state guidelines.

Judge Mabel H. Hubbard sentenced Martin, of the 1400 block of N. Bond St., to eight years for manslaughter and three years, to be served concurrently, for using a handgun in a crime of violence.

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