Javonte T. Mangum’s voice rasped “help me” as he lay dying in front of the Creighton Court apartment where his two daughters slept inside.

He was covered in blood draining from the five gunshots that struck his head, chest, back and right arm in the early morning hours of July 21.

“Help me, I’m dying!” he cried, getting more frantic as a Richmond police officer told him to hold on while waiting for an ambulance.

Mangum’s family watched the scene captured by the officer’s body-worn camera as they sat in Richmond Circuit Court on Thursday — some, overcome with emotion at seeing the footage, had to leave the courtroom — waiting to hear the fate of Kwaun Devontae Lewis, who had pleaded guilty to killing the 21-year-old.

“That was my baby boy,” said Kimberly Mangum, his mother. “My son was no bad person. I just need to know why. I need answers. My boy should not be gone.”

Vanessa Stringfield, whose home in Creighton Mangum had run to after being shot about a block away, said her oldest daughter remembers her father. The child clawed at the ground after the family buried him and screams for him at night.

“They were best friends,” she said. Stringfield said their youngest child, who was only 3 months old when Mangum was killed, “doesn’t get that chance.”

Lewis, who was 18 at the time of the shooting, pleaded guilty in November to first-degree murder. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Brooke Pettit and defense attorney Wayne Morgan agreed in a plea deal to a sentence in the middle of the guidelines, which provide a punishment range based on similar cases across the state. The midpoint of the guidelines called for 30 years in prison.

Morgan asked for a lower sentence, saying his client’s only prior offense was a speeding ticket and that he was due to become a father in April.

“In 30 years from now, we’ll have three daughters with no father,” he said.

Lewis told the judge Thursday that he shot Mangum because Mangum had robbed him a few weeks earlier.

“I didn’t know defending yourself can get you all this in jail,” he said. “This is my first felony and y’all are trying to give me 30 years. Y’all doing too much.”

Richmond Circuit Judge Phillip L. Hairston said the shooting was an execution and called Lewis “a dangerous person in the community.”

“But for the agreement the commonwealth has in place, I would certainly consider going well above the guidelines,” Hairston said before sentencing Lewis to 100 years in prison with 65 years suspended — an active sentence of 35 years.

On the other side of the courtroom gallery, Lewis’ mother and father bowed their heads as he was led away in handcuffs.

Inside the holding cell located between courtrooms, Lewis could be heard banging against the walls and screaming.

Outside the courtroom, which deputies had locked as they rushed to subdue Lewis, Lewis’ brother pressed his face to the door and sobbed.

Mangum’s family cried throughout the hearing but left the courtroom smiling.


(804) 649-6527

Twitter: @AliRockettRTD

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