BY JAMES HARPER
Darshawn Broadwater was sentenced by Circuit Judge R. Michael Hutcheson Tuesday to 12 years in prison with two-year credit for his role in the shooting death of 19-year-old Donnell “D.J.’’ Ellis at a Holly Hill motel on April 16, 2011.
The Daytona Times first reported on this case in the April 16 edition.
Broadwater, 21, who pleaded to second-degree murder, was not the triggerman. However, because he was at the scene during the commission of a felony, his attorney Steven Robinson told the Daytona Times he could be charged with murder – “even if he didn’t intend for it to happen.”
Robinson spoke exclusively to the Daytona Times on Wednesday.
He said Ellis, according to the prosecutor’s evidence, came out of the Pilot Motel room shooting.
Drug deal gone bad
In a police report, Chauncy Gilmore, who was 17 at the time in 2011, admitted to firing the fatal shot but was only given five years for possession of a firearm because it was determined by law enforcement that he acted in self-defense.
He went to the motel room with two others – Lawrence Kloc and Jamie Evans – to allegedly do a drug deal with the guest occupant of the room, Roy Crew. In the room with Crew was Leroy Gadson, Ellis and Broadwater, all who were shot with the exception of Crew. Ellis was the only one who died in the shooting.
Gilmore received five years in prison for his role in this incident even though the shooting was deemed to have been committed in self-defense – defense of others.
Crew and Gadson took their case to trial. Both were found guilty and sentenced to life sentences even though neither was found to have fired a shot.
Kloc will be sentenced on May 17.
Mom wants more charges
According to State Attorney Spokesman Klare Ly, “After careful examination, Mr. Evans was the only person present that did not commit a crime and did not receive any charges,” said Wisteria Harry, the mother of Donnell Ellis, continues to urge that the state pursue charges against Jamie Evans.
Attorney Robinson said Gadson told Broadwater a lie – “that Mr. Kloc had robbed Ellis previously to solicit my clients help in this ordeal.”
“Judge Hutcheson had a body of information to consider prior to imposing sentence (on Broadwater),” Robinson said.
He said among the information considered by judge was witnesses’ testimony and information provided by Broadwater for “the successful prosecution of other cases.”
No deal for suspect
Robinson said there was no deal worked out for his client.
“The state attorney office recommended no more than 20 years. The judge determined what is a fair sentence,” Robinson continued.
Ellis’ mother, Wisteria Harry, was present at the sentencing for Broadwater.
Harry told the Daytona Times she said to Broadwater: “You lied on my son and I want to know why. My son would have never lied on you.
You have stayed at my house. You have come to cookouts at my house.’’ She added that she realized Broadwater had to do what he did to save himself.
Harry believes, after talking with witnesses, that her son never had a gun and she plans to continue fighting for him until his name is cleared.
Even though Harry is upset with Broadwater, she said he, Gadson and Crew should not have been sentenced for the death of her son.
“They did nothing wrong. They weren’t the shooter. Kloc is left and Jamie has not been arrested,” Harry concluded.
According to Kloc, Evans and Gilmore, Crew lured Kloc into the hotel room for the purpose of conducting a drug transaction. When Kloc entered the room, the occupants of the room allegedly began to beat Kloc in an effort to forcibly take the drugs and his possessions. It also was reported that one of the individuals, possibly Ellis, held a gun to his head.
Crime scene investigators have recovered .380 caliber casings and located several blood trails leading from the room.
The police report also revealed Kloc, Evans and Gilmore were responsible for the recovery of both weapons used in this incident.
Broadwater, Gadson and Crew have maintained that they had no part in a drug deal or attempted robbery.
Angela Johnson, the mother of Gadson, is working on an appeal of her son’s sentencing. “My son was also a victim. I don’t understand. He was also shot,” Johnson has stated.