Penelope Spencer’s faith in God is why she’s able to keep going after her son’s murder, she told a Richmond court on Monday.
“I know I’ll see him again,” she said. “It’s the only reason.”
Spencer described her son, Antonio M. Sherman, 18, as well-liked, outgoing and deeply faithful.
“He just was a great kid, and a wonderful kid, and I can’t even imagine going every single day without my son,” an emotional Spencer testified.
Rashard S. Cutler, 22, convicted by a jury in September of killing Sherman in an apartment on Westover Hills Boulevard, was sentenced Monday to serve to a quarter-century in prison. He had been convicted of one count each of first-degree murder and malicious wounding and two counts of the use of a firearm in a felony.
Sherman died when an argument at an Oct. 19, 2014, party turned into a gunfight.
One of the tenants of a Westover Hills Boulevard apartment had essentially turned the dwelling into a club for the evening, the prosecution said. Sherman, who was in town from Lynchburg, was watching the dancers from the couch with his cousin. He was not involved in the argument or the gunfire, but was nonetheless shot in the back and killed, the prosecution argued.
The woman hosting the party was also wounded, according to court documents. Cutler, who had been living in Richmond, was convicted of both shootings. Another man was killed just outside the apartment by someone else, but that killing was deemed self-defense.
Cutler’s attorney, John F. McGarvey, asked Judge Margaret Spencer to sentence Cutler to only 20 years, citing his young age and a criminal record free of violence and felonies.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jed Patterson asked the judge to give Cutler 25 years as recommended by the jury.
Before the judge sentenced him, Cutler apologized.
“I just want to say I’m sorry for (the family’s) loss,” he said.
The judge gave Cutler the full sentence and added three years of suspended sentence on each of the charges.
Before Monday’s sentencing, the judge rejected a motion seeking a new trial for Cutler. The defense argued that it was restricted from going into details related to the shooting outside the party. Those details, McGarvey argued, might have raised doubt about who fired shots inside the party.
McGarvey has said Cutler will appeal.