A Muskogee man sentenced to life in prison Monday for the shooting death of Roshun English maintained his innocence.
Dawaan James Norwood, 22, was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole by District Judge Tom Alford. In Oklahoma, a life sentence is treated as 45 years. Because first-degree murder is an 85 percent crime, Norwood will be 60 before he becomes eligible for parole.
Norwood is one of three defendants sentenced in the Nov. 11, 2011, shooting death. Although Norwood has claimed not to have been at the house where English was killed, authorities pegged him as the triggerman.
Muskogee County Assistant District Attorney Dan Medlock told jurors during Norwood’s trial in October that Norwood shot English in front of English’s girlfriend, Dana Webb, and the pair’s small child, when English tried to defend himself during a robbery.
Before Alford imposed sentence, Norwood gave a brief statement: “Send out my condolences to the family.”
English’s mother, Deborah English, and brother Myron were in the courtroom. Medlock read a statement from Webb, which expressed her grief at English’s death.
“Each day I’m learning to accept that he’s gone and never coming back,” the letter read. “He’s always in my heart. ... He’s at peace.”
Alford called the shooting and ensuing trials a “multiple tragedy.”
“You’ve got one who lost his life,” he said. “And two, three, maybe four locked up, away from their families for the majority of their lives.
“And for what? Guns and drugs. It’s what’s ruining the lives of young people.”
When Norwood was convicted in October, he fought with deputies as he was escorted out of the courtroom. This time, however, he calmly walked out, only stopping to briefly hug his mother, Linda Norwood.
“I’m really sorry,” a tearful Linda Norwood said. “I’m really sorry for both ends.”
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Fates of other defendants
• Schiavone Anderson, 18, convicted the same day as Norwood, saw his life sentence altered last month when District Judge Tom Alford suspended 25 years of his term.
• Romonne Lavell Johnson Jr., 17, received a 10-year sentence in exchange for his testimony against his co-defendants. Johnson pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of first-degree robbery as a youthful offender.
• Jacorey Billings, the alleged ringleader of the group, will return to court in July for a second trial after a jury failed to reach a verdict in his case in March.