LIMA — What started as a drug turf war ended Thursday with a 22-year-old Lima man being sentenced to 14 years in prison for his role in a fatal shooting that took place last year at a Fourth Street apartment complex.
Devonte M. Andrews was indicted in July by an Allen County grand jury and charged with murder with a firearm specification in the Aug. 18, 2016, shooting death of 29-year-old Edward Henry at the Lima Estates Apartments, 760 E. Fourth St.
Also charged with murder in Henry’s death was Terry Williams, 28, of Lima. Williams is scheduled to stand trial beginning March 27 in Allen County Common Pleas Court.
Andrews in January accepted a negotiated deal from prosecutors that called for him to plead guilty to a reduced charge of voluntary manslaughter with a three-year gun specification in exchange for the state’s dismissal of the more serious charges.
Judge Jeffrey Reed on Thursday sentenced Andrews to 11 years in prison on the voluntary manslaughter charge. That sentence will begin after Andrews has served a mandatory three-year sentence for the use of a firearm during the offense.
Defense Attorney Joe Benavidez told the court his client was “in the wrong place at the wrong time” when Henry was killed. The court-appointed attorney said Henry and Williams “were fighting over their drug territories at the Fourth Street apartments” at the time of the incident, and Andrews feared for his life when shots began firing that day.
Benavidez said Andrews made his living by selling drugs.
“That’s how he got by,” the attorney said, “and on that day when someone started shooting, he shot back.” Bendavidez said he doesn’t believe any of the shots fired by his client struck Henry.
Andrews apologized to the court, the victim’s family and his own family during Thursday’s hearing. He took responsibility for his actions, telling Reed, “I made a young, dumb mistake that I am truly sorry for.” He told the judge he reacted that day “out of total fear.”
Also addressing the court was Henry’s mother, Felicia, who asked Reed to impose the maximum allowable sentence “because my son is not here to defend himself.”
Before adjourning the hearing, Reed offered a summation of what had transpired.
“This is what happens when young people become engaged in illegal drug activity … and have guns,” the judge said.