“I don't care if it was a drug deal, a car deal, adultery, I don't care. You have no right to take anybody’s life, to take anything like that into your hands,” the judge said before imposing a life sentence on McDaniel Tuesday. “There's only one person that has that authority and that’s the Creator.”
McDaniel, 22, of 209 Courtland Ave., will be eligible to apply for parole after serving 25 years in prison. He had pleaded guilty last month to murder and aggravated robbery, both with gun specifications, for the May 22 shooting death of Junior “Pinchy” Francous, 39, who was found dead inside a house in the 1000 block of Bricker Avenue.
Judge Duhart imposed the prison sentence for the two charges and an unrelated burglary conviction. He also ordered McDaniel to pay $500 in restitution to the victims of the break-in.
McDaniel’s attorney, Don Cameron, told the court his client had gone to the victim’s house – a known drug house – because he felt he’d been cheated by Francous. McDaniel is a small man compared to Francous, and he took a gun with him.
“He felt like he needed a pistol,” Mr. Cameron said. “It was a bad decision.”
He said the two men struggled over the gun, and McDaniel was shot once in the leg. Francous was shot three times including once in the face. After McDaniel left the house, he waved down a car, put a gun to the driver’s head, ordered her out of the car, and fled in the vehicle.
McDaniel told the court he was “sorry from my heart,” but said the shooting was "an accident" that happened while he and Francous, "a person way bigger than me," were fighting over the gun.
Assistant County Prosecutor J. Christopher Anderson told the court the word “accident” was a misnomer.
"He went over there with a mask on and a gun to rob this person," Mr. Anderson said. "...There was a contact wound right under the left eye of the victim where he put the gun right against his face and pulled the trigger. This was no accident. This was a murder.”
Vera Sanders, a victim’s assistance advocate, read a statement from the victim’s then-12-year-old son who said his father was his emotional, spiritual, and financial support.
“His life was stolen from me,” she read. “Demeko took the life of my dad and he was the only healthy person in my family.”
His mother has multiple sclerosis and is wheelchair bound. His grandmother, who takes care of his mother, also is sick.
"I miss my dad and I wish he was here to see what type of young man I would turn out to be," she read.
Contact Jennifer Feehan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-213-2134.