PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — Two men convicted for a shooting that killed one person and injured others outside a Lakewood nightclub have been sentenced.
Pierce County Superior Court Judge Jerry Costello gave 29-year-old Dominique James Avington and 25-year-old Darry Daquan Smalley high-end sentences of 77 years, five months in prison Friday.
Loved ones told the judge that King’s laugh and smile were contagious, and that the 28-year-old was an “outstanding father” to his young children.
His younger sister, Simayah Green, told the court: “... my brother was loved. He was loved very, very much.”
She said she didn’t “understand why there has to be this type of violence. He didn’t deserve it at all. ... It’ll never make sense to me.”
The judge agreed.
“This doesn’t make any sense to me either Ms. Green,” he said. “It is not fair.”
The shooting Oct. 21, 2018 followed a fight inside the club. King was killed and three others were injured when shots were fired into a crowd. One woman was paralyzed.
Deputy prosecutor Jesse Williams told the court: “These two men picked up guns and they shot at someone because they just didn’t care. Because they were pissed off.”
He said 23 rounds were fired and that at least 23 people could have been killed.
“What must it take to be indifferent to who lives or dies?” Williams said. “That’s what happened here.”
He noted that Smalley fled to Hawaii after the shooting.
Williams also argued that “while it may be Mr. Smalley’s shot that killed Mr. King,” Avington was equally culpable.
Defense attorney Michael Stewart, who represented Smalley, told the court a standard range sentence would effectively be life in prison.
He said Smalley didn’t have a history of conflict and described his client as “a kid with a skateboard, with good friends and family.”
He said Smalley moved from Portland to Texas at age 10, where he participated in church and Boy Scouts. As a teenager he returned to Portland, where he earned his GED.
When it was Smalley’s turn to speak, he apologized to King’s family.
“The last thing I wanted to do is take someone’s life,” he said. “I have to live with that also.”
Defense attorney Brian Todd wrote in a presentence report that Avington earned his GED and worked as a barber for 10 years.
“As the Court can see from the attached letters, Mr. Avington has a lot of support from family and friends,” he wrote. “His family was present at his trial almost every day and continues to support him.”
Smalley and Avington argued at trial that they acted in self defense.
Avington told the court at sentencing: “This is not a situation where we came out here to cause trouble. To hurt anybody, to harm anybody.”
He said he “was put in a position” where he felt he had to defend himself and others.
Judge Costello noted that the men do not have felony history.
He said one of the men injured in the shooting “to some degree, and I emphasize to some degree,” had “provoked the incident.” But it wasn’t to a “significant degree,” he found.
Costello said “the indifference to the lives of innocent, nonparticipants” was “extreme.”
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