MEDIA COURTHOUSE — A 19-year-old Chester man was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday for the 2017 shooting death of 34-year-old Blane L. Jones II.
Delaware County Common Pleas Court Judge Anthony Scanlon also gave Devonte Perkins 12 to 24 years of consecutive imprisonment for related firearms offenses at the behest of Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Glackin.
“Devonte Perkins is an individual who clearly has no regard for human life, as he gunned down the victim in the street, in broad daylight, killing him over a senseless argument,” said District Attorney Katayoun M. Copeland in a release.
Jurors took less than two hours to convict Perkins following a trial in December for Blane’s murder on June 27, 2017. Chester police were dispatched to the area of 11th Street and McDowell Avenue for a report of a fight with gunshots about 7:45 p.m. that night. Police discovered shell casings and learned that two gunshot victims had been taken to a hospital in private vehicles.
Jones had been shot several times in the upper torso and underwent emergency surgery, but died at 12:28 a.m. June 28. The second shooting victim suffered a gunshot wound to the thigh.
A witness told investigators that Blane had been in an argument with a woman and that she apparently called someone. As Jones entered a residence in the 1000 block of McDowell Avenue, the witness reported hearing the woman yell, “They on the way. Let’s see what kind of man you are now, you f—–.”
Jones’ relatives pleaded with him to stay inside, but he told them that if he did not go outside, he feared whoever was on the way would shoot up the house.
The witness saw three black males approach Jones. An argument broke out and one of the men pulled out a handgun before firing at Jones, according to the witness.
Jones fled on 11th Street toward Elsinore Place with the gunman giving chase and shooting behind him. Jones returned to 11th and McDowell moments later, shot multiple times. Another one of the men in the confrontation was also struck.
Investigators secured video surveillance footage from the surrounding area that captured the incident. Further investigation revealed a phone number and possible name for the shooter as “Hurk.”
Delaware County Detective Michael Jay reviewed the video and identified the shooter as “Hurk.” Chester Narcotics/Vice Unit Officer Bradley Waltman also identified the gunman as Perkins, who also goes by “Hurk.” One of the witnesses additionally identified Perkins from a photo array as the shooter.
Glackin read letters from the victim’s family members Tuesday who indicated their lives had been rocked by Blane’s death.
“On the date he was murdered, it caused an injury to all of his family,” his sister wrote in her letter. “Our wound cannot be seen outwardly, but it is very apparent in our actions, thoughts and truces we have made since his murder.”
Blane’s father wrote that his life had been “destroyed” by his son’s death and pleaded for a change.
“It is a tragedy that will continue to haunt our black community unless we can come together as families to try to put an end to these black-on-black crimes,” he said. “We are losing lives in more than one way and we need to, as a black community, try to save our children so this tragedy can stop once and for all.”
Defense attorney Eugene Tinari made an oral motion Tuesday for a new trial, arguing the verdict was not supported by the evidence. Scanlon denied the motion.
Tinari also asked that the other charges be run concurrent, noting his client’s age.
But Glackin argued that psychological reports indicated Perkins showed no remorse for the killing and still did not believe he had done anything wrong.
She noted he had been arrested as a juvenile for crimes including assault, robbery, and possessing a stolen firearm, and had been placed in juvenile centers three times with no apparent rehabilitation taking place.
“The video tells the whole story,” she said. “The defendant’s actions were ruthless, calculated and wicked. He demonstrated a depraved indifference to human life.”
Scanlon agreed Perkins’ criminal past was a “record of a nightmare in the making,” noting psychological reports indicated he is a high risk for reoffending with a history of sociopathy.
“While we know that no sentence will bring back the victim, or undo the pain endured by his family and loved ones, the defendant will spend the rest of his life in prison for his senseless actions,” said Copeland. “Our office will continue to aggressively pursue violent criminals, and prosecute those who engage in gun violence and have no regard for the safety of our children and families.”