Markquiel Derrick got choked up as he apologized for what he'd done and who was impacted when he took the life of another man as his victim opened a front door on South Harrison Street.
Antonyo Stephens, 42, a Fort Wayne native who worked in Columbus, Ohio, was shot several times just after midnight Aug. 14, 2020, but as he lay inside the entryway, he identified his shooter.
“Quiel shot me,” he told Fort Wayne Officer Anthony Krock. Stephens died at a hospital. Quick police work resulted in Derrick's arrest at 7 p.m. the same day by Fort Wayne and Indiana State Police just south of Indianapolis.
On Friday, Allen Superior Court Judge Fran Gull handed Derrick, 30, of the 1400 block of Lewis Street, a 25-year sentence for voluntary manslaughter as part of a plea deal made before trial started in August.
Five years of the sentence were suspended and will be served consecutively with a 11/2-year sentence for a probation violation, said Derrick's attorney Caryn Garton. Derrick was also represented by attorney Nicholas Wallace.
Shortly after his arrest, Derrick was charged with murder and using a firearm in the commission of an offense where death results, facing up to 85 years in prison.
No one from Stephens' family attended the sentencing, but about 10 members of Derrick's family arrived and covered him with love from behind the rail. Derrick waved and conversed with them before Gull appeared. At one point, he fist-pumped his heart, then curved his hand to make a heart shape.
His grandmother Mary Reed spoke behind the rail, calling Derrick a “good child” and asking the judge to consider allowing him to be involved in prison programs. Gull said she expected Derrick to be involved in programs and substance abuse evaluations.
“You've been my baby from day one,” Reed said to Derrick.
“He had children and was involved in his children's lives,” Reed told the judge. “He constantly came to see his gramma.
“Wherever he goes, I know no prison is a good place to go. I hope he can get into programs so he's able to get back out and be a support to his children. I don't know how long I'm going to be here,” Reed said.
Derrick said he wanted to get his GED, the high school equivalency diploma, and “come back and see my children. I don't want to smoke no more. I just want to be right.”
Sitting at the back of the seating area, Derrick's grandfather Lou Reed attended for support and knew what was coming.
“They got to do what they got to do,” he said.