A judge last week denied an Anniston teen’s request for youthful offender status in connection with a fatal 2018 shooting.
Donta Kajuan Brown, 19, applied on June 5 for youthful offender status. Brown was 18 years old when he was charged by Anniston police with murder after, police said, he shot 32-year-old Darion Welch on April 14, 2018, outside an apartment.
As Brown’s defense attorney, Shelby Scottwrote in an email, it is her job to explore every avenue of relief available to him. She said she seeks youthful offender status for every eligible client.
“Mr. Brown was 18 years old when the crime occurred, and under Alabama law, defendants under the age of 21 are eligible to apply for youthful offender status,” Scott said.
Police told The Star in 2018 that Welch was found around 2 a.m. with numerous gunshot wounds near an apartment in the 2800 block of Gurnee Avenue and was taken to Regional Medical Center, where he died during surgery.
According to police, Brown was arrested April 18, 2018, after he turned himself in at the Anniston police station.
According to Scott, Brown maintains his innocence.
“We are disappointed that our application for youthful offender status was denied, but we will respect the Court's decision and move forward with our defense,” Scott wrote. “The case will now move to the trial phase, and we are confident that the evidence will show that Mr. Brown was acting in self defense.”
After his arrest, Brown was booked into the Calhoun County Jail with bond set at $90,000. He was released on bond nearly a week after his arrest, and jailed again in November after his bond was revoked when he was charged that month with second-degree assault.
Murder is a Class A felony. Because Brown will be tried as an adult, he could be sentenced to serve up to life in prison and pay up to $60,000 in fines if he is convicted.