Bringing an end to the case of the brutal 2008 robbery and shooting inside a Delray Beach Dunkin’ Donuts shop, a judge sentenced Calvin Weatherspoon to seven life sentences Friday just moments after a jury convicted him of attempted murder, robbery, aggravated battery and other charges.
The four men and two women on the jury took just more than five hours to return the verdict at the end of the week-long trial.
Their decision, which virtually assures life sentences for Weatherspoon, wraps up the case against four men charged with the shootings that left three people with gunshot wounds to the face.
Weatherspoon sat without expression as the verdicts were read but afterwards pushed to be sentenced immediately, even as his attorneys Elizabeth Gardner and Alicia Betts consulted with his sobbing mother, Inca Osbourne.
“Regardless of what she says, I’m the one going through this, I’m the one who got railroaded here, so let’s get this over with now,” Weatherspoon said.
The triggerman in the robbery, James Herard, received nine consecutive life sentences for his role in the attempted murders last year, laughing at his sentencing hearing as his victims testified.
The three other men charged in the case — Weatherspoon, Tharod Bell and Charles Faustin — all said they intended only to rob the shop patrons and were horrified when Herard started shooting.
Prosecutors Jill Estey Richstone and Cheryl Caracuzzo said the men were all part of the violent Crips gang and knew Herard planned to try to kill people during the robbery to raise the number of dead bodies attributed to his name.
Weatherspoon stood trial with Bell, though two separate juries decided their cases.
Bell’s jury convicted him of all but one of the charges against him Wednesday, and on Thursday Circuit Judge Karen Miller sentenced Bell to seven consecutive life terms in prison. Faustin received the same punishment after his trial and conviction earlier this year.
Bell’s defense attorney Aaron Clemens begged Miller not to let Herard’s actions remove the possibility of Bell having a future outside of prison.
Caracuzzo said that Bell’s idea of what it meant to be respectful was the antithesis of the views shared by free society, which made the life sentence necessary.
“His idea of respect was being polite to the customers as he robbed them,” Caracuzzo said. “That’s what makes him the worst kind of criminal there is.”
Before Miller sentenced Weatherspoon, Osbourne testified that her son had been diagnosed with ADHD as a child and became depressed after a hand injury killed his dream of becoming a massage therapist. He was a follower, Osbourne said, but he wasn’t violent.
“In this heart this was not my baby. This was not him,” she said. “He doesn’t go out intentionally to hurt people.”
With multiple life sentences for each of the four men charged in the case, prosecutors said society is now free from a group who inflicted numerous other acts of violence. Bell and Herard, for example, face possible death sentences for murders committed in Broward County.
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