A United States judge has sentenced an American teen to 50 years in prison for the brutal attack of a Kenyan who has been fighting for his life in an Oklahoma medical facility.
On February 26 last year, Leshaun Murray, together with others, violently attacked Mr. Michael Wasike during a carjacking incident, leaving him without the ability to walk, talk, see or feed himself. The victim suffered permanent brain damage and is receiving care in Tulsa Oklahoma.
Iowa Judge Karen Romano sentenced Murray, 17, to two 25-year prison sentences to be served consecutively.
In April, Murray entered guilty pleas on two counts of first-degree robbery. The judge also imposed a mandatory minimum sentence on the first count, relating to the near-fatal carjacking of Mr. Wasike. This means Murray will have to serve 70 per cent of his 25-year prison sentence before being eligible for parole.
Judge Romano said a mandatory minimum sentence was not appropriate for the second count, relating to Murray threatening Sam Lasswell with a gun prior to carjacking Mr. Wasike. Police said Murray, Kenneth “Kenny” Barry, 18, and Terrance Lamont Cheeks Jr., 17, sought to stop motorists driving by on the snowy night in 2013 and steal their cars. Murray held a gun, police said. The trio stopped Mr. Wasike, beat him, and left him on the street.
‘KILLED MY HUSBAND’
Mr. Wasike’s wife, Joan Namachemo, said after the sentencing: “You did not hurt Mike, you killed him,” she said. “You killed my husband . . . I hope today’s sentencing is fair to me and you; I hope you go where you belong…I should not live in fear because of you.”
During the first half of the sentencing hearing, a Des Moines police detective talked about Murray’s previous run-ins with law enforcement which included a fight on a bus and a charge for running from police. In a surveillance video of the fight, Murray can be heard referencing a local gang, Detective Jeffrey Shannon testified. The detective also said a phone call from the Marshall County Jail where Murray has been held, references Murray’s previous gang involvement and desire to rejoin the gang if he is released.
Mr. Wasike’s daughter, Sandrah Nasimiyu, recalled how she reunited with her father after he moved to the United States from Kenya. “But now I only got to spend three years with my father, Nasimiyu, 14, told a Polk County District Court judge on Thursday. “I remember dad talking about taking a daddy-daughter trip to Chicago. I guess I’ll never get that. We can’t do things together, can’t laugh or play around because it makes him agitated. I can’t get a smile from my Dad.”
During the victim impact statement, Nasimiyu moved the court when she read a poem about losing her father, then turned to Murray who sat pensively and said: “You don’t scare me,” she told him. “To me, you’re weak. You took the easy way out.”
Mr. Wasike moved to the United States four years ago to join his family.
By B.M. J. Muriithi