On Tuesday, June 26, a Gadsden County Criminal Court judge sentenced Keveonte Thomas, 19, of Tallahassee, to 25 years behind bars for the murder of Kentrell Thomas, 19, of Quincy last January.
The sentence, handed down by Judge Barbara Hobbs, was the minimum for Keveonte Thomas’ charge.
In May, a Gadsden County jury convicted Keveonte Thomas of second-degree murder for shooting Kentrell Thomas inside the Gadsden Arms Apartments complex in Quincy, January 29, 2017.
Police reports state Keveonte Thomas and two friends drove that evening from Tallahassee to the Gadsden Arms Apartments, intending to confront another individual – not Kentrell Thomas – in response to an earlier incident.
Once inside the Gadsden Arms complex, police reported Keveonte Thomas pulled a gun and started firing, hitting and killing Kentrell Thomas, an innocent bystander.
At the sentencing hearing, Keveonte Thomas made a brief statement of remorse to the family of Kentrell Thomas for allowing the situation that evening to “get out of control.”
Keveonte Thomas’ father and grandmother pleaded with Judge Hobbs at the hearing, for leniency and a second chance for Keveonte.
At one point during the sentencing hearing, Keveonte Thomas’ mother had to be escorted out of the courtroom for deep sobbing and what sounded and appeared to be hyperventilation.
Kentrell Thomas’ twin sister also read a statement lamenting the loss of her brother. State prosecutor Stefanie Morris read a statement to the judge written by Kentrell Thomas’ mother.
Morris asked the judge to issue the maximum life sentence to Keveonte Thomas for taking the life of Kentrell Thomas.
“Keveonte Thomas made the decision that evening to drive from Tallahassee to Quincy, as well as making the decision to pull out a gun and start firing,” Morris said. “If he hadn’t done that, Kentrell Thomas would still be here.”
Upon handing down the minimum 25-year sentence, Judge Hobbs noted “there are no winners in a situation like this.”
Keveonte Thomas’ sentence also includes five years probation after his time behind bars concludes.
Keveonte Thomas will get credit for the 509 days he had already spent in prison before Tuesday’s sentencing.
The other two young men in the car with Keveonte Thomas that evening last January -Mark Williams, 21, of Tallahassee, and a 16-year-old unnamed minor from Tallahassee – are still awaiting trials for their alleged roles in the death of Kentrell Thomas.
By Randall Lieberman