By Luke Lavoie, firstname.lastname@example.org
2:27 PM EST, December 17, 2012
The Columbia teenager who pleaded guilty in the stabbing death of another Columbia teenager in Long Reach in 2011 was sentenced to life in prison with all but 60 years suspended.
Xavier Trevon Bates, 19, pleaded guilty in September to first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Christian Lendel Hall, 17, outside of Hall's home in the Sierra Woods Apartment Complex.
Bates was sentenced in Howard County Circuit Court on Friday, Dec. 14.
According to Judge Richard Bernhardt, Bates will receive credit for 505 days served, and will be eligible for parole in 2026.
Bernhardt, at the request of the defense and with the consent of the prosecution, recommended Bates be considered for the Patuxent Institute's Youth Offenders program.
At the sentencing, Bates addressed Hall's family members and asked them for forgiveness.
"I'm very truly sorry this incident happened. I'm sorry for all the grief and pain I caused you," Bates said. "I'm not a monster, I'm just a young man who made a life-changing mistake."
Bernhardt said Bates' seven citations while incarcerated — one for an incident where he threw feces at a Howard County Detention Center guard — and his attempt to feign incompetence influenced his sentencing.
"I do not see you as a monster, but I don't see you as an immature 19-year-old either," Bernhardt said. "I think you are comfortable with using deadly force."
In a statement released to the media, Hall's mother, Christine Massey, said the sentencing gives her some closure.
"I am still so very devastated, and nothing will be the same again," Massey wrote. "Today's verdict means justice for my son's killer, but no more will I ever see my son or feel his hugs again."
On the evening of July 27, 2011 Bates chased Hall into his mother's Long Reach apartment, located in the 8700 block of Airybrink Lane, with a six-inch kitchen knife he allegedly stole from a local Safeway.
According to the court documents, the two teenagers were involved in a fight earlier that day after Bates said Hall disrespected him and sucker punched him while he was on his bicycle.
Bates, trying to continue the fight, forced his way into Hall's apartment, where a struggle ensued.
At approximately 10 p.m. that evening, police responded to a report of a stabbing and found Hall covered in blood on the third floor of the apartment building.
Hall was stabbed at least 10 times, according to a statement of facts entered into the court record in the case, including a two-and-a-half inch stab wound to the heart. He was taken to Howard County General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead less than an hour later.
Bates, who was at the hospital receiving treatment for a stab wound to the hand, was arrested by police and later admitted to stabbing Hall, according to the statement of facts.