A Columbus mother and her son were sentenced to the maximum 20 years in prison and a third defendant was given 12 years for violating Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act in connection with a series of crimes that included drug dealing and murder.
Judge William Rumer sentenced 46-year-old Daphene Castille and her 26-year-old son Jamal Castille on the RICO conviction during a hearing Wednesday in Muscogee County Superior Court. Dantrell Marshall, 23, was sentenced to 12 years, with six to serve in prison and six on supervised probation. Rumer denied Marshall’s request for first-offender status.
The sentencing came more than a week after the three defendants were found guilty of racketeering, but not guilty of murder in a series of crimes that included dealing cocaine, bank robbery and the Sept. 22, 2008, shooting death of David Coleman, a paid police informant.
Though the jury found them not guilty of the other charges, it had to cite “predicate” or underlying acts to justify the RICO conviction. The jurors cited soliciting murder, murder, armed robbery and drug dealing.
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Had the Castilles and Marshall been found guilty of murder, they would have faced a maximum sentence of life in prison.
At the end of the sentencing hearing Wednesday, two letters were read by a court official from Coleman’s family.
A sister said it’s difficult to tell her brother’s daughter that she does not have a father like other children. Everything was taken away from the family when Coleman died, she said.
The victim’s family asked the judge to give the defendants the maximum sentence.
Rumer set a Dec. 18 date for a retrial if the case is appealed.
Suellen Fleming, a Carrollton, Ga., defense attorney for Jamal Castille, said that the case will be appealed on the court proceedings. She said there were sufficient errors in the indictment and how it was drafted.
“We believe there were some errors in the judicial rulings on certain motions,” Fleming said after sentencing. “We believe there are sufficient errors in the proceedings to merit a new trial on this.”
An appeal would take six to eight weeks after the trial transcript is completed.
March Konan, a prosecutor in the district attorney’s office, said the judge made a just decision in the case. Konan had requested the maximum sentence of 20 years for the defendants.
“I think the judge considered the evidence, reviewed the testimony given by Mr. Marshall during the trial and made what he felt like a just decision,” he said.
During statements at the hearing, Konan described Daphene Castille as a person who owned property in the Wynnton area and was dealing in crack cocaine. He said Coleman would have been 26 years old if he hadn’t been shot six times while standing at his bedroom window at 730 Lawyers Lane, an apartment owned by Daphene Castille.
“The only reason he is gone is Daphene Castille wanted him gone,” Konan said.
During the nine-day trial, a police detective testified how Coleman gave information on a gun used in the robbery of Columbus Bank and Trust that was then on Forrest Road.
He said Coleman described the revolver Daphene Castille owned and showed him where the car used in the robbery was abandoned.
Police with a warrant describing Daphene Castille’s revolver searched her Englewood Drive home on Sept. 12, 2008, but found only some clothing that could have been worn during the robbery. Officers left a copy of the search warrant behind.
Witnesses said Daphene Castille studied an affidavit accompanying the warrant to determine who was feeding police information. She decided it was Coleman.
One witness quoted her saying, “I got something for his a--.” Another quoted her saying, “I’ll toe-tag the m----r f----r,” a reference to how morgues once identified dead bodies.
Terrell Mars, Daphene Castille’s ex-boyfriend, testified during the trial that Marshall and Jamal Castille killed Coleman, but their attorneys said he was deflecting blame from himself. Mars also faces charges, but he was not on trial with the other three defendants because he agreed to testify for the prosecution.
Tim Flournoy, defense attorney for Marshall, said Marshall testified at the trial and was substantial assistance to the case.
“He may have placed himself at risk of retaliation,” his attorney said. “He had no prior felony convictions.”
Attorney Cynthia Lain, who represented Daphene Castille, asked the court to sentence her to 10 years instead of the maximum and give her credit for 23 months in jail already.