A 20-year-old Reservoir Hill woman was sentenced Thursday to six years in prison for what prosecutors called an act of vigilante justice when she led a group beating of a sex offender that turned fatal. Her father was also sentenced to jail time for his role.
Circuit Judge Timothy Doory said Latiqwa Mayes' frustration that the man, Donald Robinson, had not received a stricter sentence from the courts after breaking into her room at a boardinghouse months earlier did "not justify a call to the community to impose physical, violent retribution."
Joshua Insley, Mayes' attorney, said his client was told that Robinson's conviction in May 2013 for assaulting her roommate would trigger a violation of his parole for a prior sex offense, and he would be off the streets, Insley said.
That never happened, and on Sept. 2, 2013, Mayes spotted Robinson walking down the street in the 800 block of Lennox St.
"She's shocked, and that puts this horrible situation in motion," Insley said.
Mayes started yelling, "He raped me. He's a sex offender," attracting the attention of others in the area, police wrote in charging documents. Her father, Willie Mayes, called for someone to stop Robinson, and a group of teens who were in the area playing basketball ran over and held Robinson. Strangers on the street then joined in and kicked and punched Robinson, police said at the time of the arrest, and Latiqwa Mayes pepper-sprayed him.
The incident was captured on city surveillance cameras, which show that Robinson was able to walk away from the scuffle. But he fell ill a short time later and was pronounced dead at a local hospital within 30 minutes. An autopsy found that the beating had exacerbated an existing health problem, Doory said.
Attorneys for Latiqwa and Willie Mays, who both pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in September, said they never intended for Robinson to die.
"They wanted him to never come back, with good reason," said Insley, who said Latiqwa Mayes needed treatment and counseling, not continued incarceration. She has been in segregation in an 8-by-12-foot jail cell for the past 13 months.
But Assistant State's Attorney Tonya LaPolla said the attack went too far and the suspects hadn't shown enough remorse.
Doory said the attack was "an act of vengeance" and "an act of retribution that went too far," and required punishment. He sentenced Latiqwa Mayes to 10 years with all but six years suspended.
Willie Mayes, a military veteran who proudly noted that he had been sober for five years, was sentenced to 10 years in prison with all but two years suspended, with credit for 10 months time he had already served.
"I don't think anyone thought these punches were designed to kill someone," Doory said. "But because of [Robinson's] vulnerable condition, they did kill him."
Kwan Blackburn, 18, one of the teens who ran over to stop Robinson, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was given a suspended sentence and four years' probation.