Teen murderer gets 18 years to life


By Justin Wier

jwier@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

A Mahoning County judge said senseless gun violence is destroying the nation.

“All of a sudden, everyone thinks they’re some kind of a tough guy. I can’t take it,” Judge Lou A. D’Apolito said. “Society loses. Humanity loses. All over nonsense ... nonsense.”

The remarks came Friday as Judge D’Apolito sentenced Braquan Walker, 19, of Palmer Avenue, to 18 years to life for the 2015 shooting death of 18-year-old Jarrell Brown.

Walker shot Brown on July 26 of that year because he believed Brown was a snitch, according to a witness statement. Walker was 16 at the time. The gun belonged to the victim.

Anthony Meranto, who represented Walker, added that with people carrying guns, disagreements that once may have been common scuffles have now become matters of life and death.

Nichele Morris, Brown’s mother, told the court Walker ruined several lives that night including those of her and her family.

“Life is not enough time for me,” Morris told the court. “My son has lost his life.”

Judge D’Apolito told Morris that after Walker pleaded guilty to murder with a firearm specification, the law required a sentence of 18 years to life.

The case had initially been dismissed in juvenile court after a judge ruled that the witness statement implicating Walker was inadmissible.

The 7th District Court of Appeals reversed that ruling in December, and a Mahoning County grand jury indicted Walker as an adult in February.

He took responsibility by pleading guilty in April, but Meranto said Walker has maintained that he didn’t shoot Brown that night.

Walker expressed sympathy for Brown’s mother and said he will do whatever he can to get parole and come back to his family.

“There’s nothing I can say or do to reduce the pain,” Walker said.

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