A reputed gang member bowed his head and wept Friday as a jury convicted him of first-degree murder for shooting an unarmed man, then joked as he was led away to spend the rest of his life in prison that he might outlive his sentence.
Immediately after the verdict, 4th Judicial District Judge G. David Miller imposed a mandatory life sentence without parole against Davin “Let Loose” Carrera, 32, in the August killing of Michael DeWayne Booker.
Booker, 28, was angered the night before he was shot when Carrera jokingly pulled a gun on him and two other men during a mock robbery in the garage of a home in the 2100 block of Roundtop Drive on the city’s northeast side.
When tensions boiled over hours later, prosecutors say Carrera shot the unarmed man in the abdomen, using a bullet meant to splinter upon impact.
“It’s probably the most senseless and pointless death that I have seen in my career,” Miller said while imposing sentence.
Carrera, shackled and wearing a black sweater vest and white button-up shirt, bounced his leg at the defense table while awaiting the jury’s verdict. He collapsed onto the defense table and cried once it arrived.
As he was taken into custody, however, he again seemed to be in a joking mood, making light of his sentence.
“What if I live forever?” he asked a deputy preparing to handcuff him, as his relatives sat crying in the gallery.
Booker’s mother, Tara Smith, spoke of never again hearing him wish her a happy Mother’s Day or merry Christmas, and said her son’s loss will radiate through their family for years to come.
Carrera’s ego, she said, “left us empty.”
“Over such a foolish reason,” said prosecutor Amy Fitch.
Unlike Carrera and others involved in his death, Booker wasn’t affiliated with a gang, authorities said.
Before his death, Booker had been sleeping at a construction site where he worked after recently losing a place to stay. There, he befriended a co-worker named Yella, who in turn introduced him to Carrera. The friend emerged as the chief witness at trial, telling police he heard Booker call to him as he died.
“Yella, you let him kill me,” Booker allegedly told him as he lay bleeding in the street. Booker is survived by two daughters, one in Greensville, Miss. and one in Memphis, Tenn.
Authorities say Yella and Carrera were gang associates. Attorneys for Carrera unsuccessfully sought to pin the killing on Yella, who remains in hiding out of state, fearful of gang reprisals for his cooperation.