By Dylan Goforth
Phoenix Staff Writer
Saying he was “sticking his neck way out,” a Muskogee County judge suspended 25 years of a recommended life sentence Monday for a teenager convicted of murder.
Schiavone Anderson, 18, was found guilty in October of the first-degree felony murder of Roshun English, 35. Though Anderson didn’t shoot English, Muskogee County Assistant District Attorney Dan Medlock argued that Anderson was just as culpable because of his role in the robbery that led to English’s death.
English was killed in front of his girlfriend, Dana Webb, who also is the mother of his children, on Nov. 11, 2011. Anderson was convicted in October along with his co-defendant, Dawaan Norwood, and jurors recommended each receive a life sentence with the possibility of parole.
But District Judge Tom Alford saw something in Anderson, sentencing him to 20 years in prison with the final 25 years suspended.
“You need to make every good use of the time you’ve got to make sure this is not the end of your life,” Alford said.
English’s family was not in the courtroom Monday, but Medlock read a brief letter from Webb which said that English was killed out of “hatred and ignorance.”
“He will forever be in my heart,” Webb’s letter said. “His legacy will live on his sons.”
Before Alford handed down the sentencing, Anderson said he was sorry for “everything that happened.”
“I had no intentions of it being that way,” Anderson said. “God knows and I know that what happened was never in my heart.”
Police said Anderson, Norwood, Jacorey Billings and Rommone Johnson Jr. robbed English, beating him and taking a wallet, cell phones and rims from a garage behind his house. During the robbery, Norwood shot English once, killing him.
“I’m sorry to the family that lost a loved one,” Anderson said. “I’m sorry for not thinking about the things I did ... how the situation could have been avoided.
“Please show leniency and please send my condolences to the English family.”
Norwood, who was convicted of shooting English, will be sentenced next month. Billings, 22, will return to court in July to face trial after a jury failed to convict him earlier this month. The final co-defendant, Johnson, 17, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of first-degree robbery as a youthful offender in exchange for his testimony.
After the sentencing, a tearful Stephanie Anderson, Schiavone’s mother, said she, too, was sorry for the English family’s loss.
“I’m very sorry for them, they’ve been friends for a long time,” Stephanie said. “I can’t express that enough.”
Stephanie also said she was pleased with the leniency Alford showed to her son.
“I’m very happy,” she said. “I’m happy he’ll get another chance. I have two other kids who are doing great, and Schiavone was doing great. He was an honors student up until high school. Baby boy just got with the wrong people.”
Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fate of defendants
• Schiavone Anderson, 18, was sentenced Monday to 45 years in prison, with all but the first 20 years suspended, for his role in the Nov. 11, 2011 shooting death of Roshun English, 35. He was convicted in October of first-degree felony murder.
• Dawaan Norwood, 22, was found guilty in October of shooting and killing English. Norwood will return to court next month for sentencing.
• Jacorey Billings, 22, charged with first-degree felony murder, will return to court in July for a second trial after a jury failed to reach a verdict in his case earlier this month.
• Romonne Johnson Jr., 17, Johnson was originally charged with first-degree felony murder, but pleaded down to a lesser youthful offender charge of first-degree robbery in exchange for testifying against Norwood, Anderson and Billings. Johnson’s plea deal carried a 10-year prison term.