Annapolis man, 22, gets 10 years in fatal shooting

Victim was attending party at American Legion hall

February 15, 2005|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

An Annapolis man was sentenced to 10 years in prison yesterday for fatally shooting a partygoer, after a judge said the defendant let previous efforts to help him slide by.

"There is a need to protect the public," Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Michael E. Loney said before sentencing Mario Jermaine Kaskins to a decade in prison, the maximum allowed for his manslaughter conviction.

Kaskins, 22, was convicted in December in the death of Damon Michael Rhodes on Aug. 10, 2002.

The 32-year-old Baltimore man was attending a birthday party in an American Legion hall in Annapolis when he was shot in the neck.

Loney noted that Kaskins had been on probation as a juvenile and as an adult. "He failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities available to him," Loney said.

Assistant State's Attorney Sandra Foy Howell sought the 10-year prison term.

But Assistant Public Defender William M. Davis said that Kaskins was working toward a high school equivalency diploma, was instrumental in helping develop programs for a community group and was trying to change his life.

Dwight and Anita Banks, Rhodes' parents, described their son as family-oriented and thoughtful of others, especially the elderly.

Rhodes, a driver for a hauling company and father of three, did not know Kaskins, according to testimony.

At his trial, Kaskins was found not guilty of first- and second-degree murder after the jury spent seven hours sorting through ambiguous and sometimes contradictory evidence.

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