SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A man who admitted involvement in the shooting death of a marijuana dealer in the man's College Area apartment two years ago was sentenced Thursday to 26 years in state prison.
Pierre Martel Terry, 20, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, the use of a gun and conspiracy to dissuade a witness.
Co-defendant Craig Farley, 23, was convicted last October of first-degree murder in the June 29, 2010 death of 24-year-old Jonathon Pleasant. Jurors also found true special circumstance allegations that the murder was committed during the commission of a robbery and burglary, and for the benefit of a street gang. However, the panel determined Farley did not personally use or discharge a weapon.
Farley's motion for a new trial is scheduled to be heard in September.
During Terry's sentencing Thursday, Peggy Dulaney, the victim's mother, said "My son was a beautiful person. He was kind to everyone."
Speaking directly to Terry, Dulaney said, "Everything was great until you and your friend came into our lives. Shame on you because you messed your life up. You chose the path of corruption."
Pleasant's girlfriend, Esther Magnus, testified at a pretrial hearing that Farley came over the night before the slaying, wanting some marijuana, but left after saying he didn't have money with him.
The next day, Farley and Terry, who were armed, went to Pleasant's apartment and a fight ensued, with the victim being severely pistol-whipped and fatally shot with a shotgun in the buttocks, according to the prosecution.
Prosecutor Michael Runyon said Pleasant trusted Farley as a customer and was caught off guard.
Runyon said Terry pistol-whipped Pleasant on the head and Farley fired the fatal shot.
Terry's DNA was found under Pleasant's fingernails and on a cap left behind at the apartment. Also, a trace of his cell phone indicated he was at the residence on the day of the shooting, the prosecution said.
Terry's mother, Bridgett Tubbs, blamed another man -- not Farley -- for getting him mixed up in illegal activity.
Tubbs said her son had never been in trouble before and was just about to join the military when Pleasant was killed.
Terry's older sister, Andrea Cole, said he is a caring person who is remorseful about what happened.
"He knows he messed up," Cole said of Terry.
The defendant apologized to the victim's family before he was sentenced. "This is not me," Terry said."I'm not a gang member. "I was involved but I didn't kill your son."
Superior Court Judge Michael Smyth, noting the victim's outgoing nature, said his death "is a loss to a lot of people."