CROWN POINT — The mother of a 21-year-old man sentenced Tuesday to 48 years in prison for killing his brother told a judge the tragedy has left her hurt and devastated.
Kafele L. Ward-Brown was convicted in August of murder for fatally shooting his brother Dennis Ward, 27, in the back last spring at his home in the 7500 block of Hendricks Street in Merrillville.
Ward-Brown's mother, Patricia Ward, testified at her son's sentencing hearing Tuesday she lost both sons and is "crushed."
"I know he loves his brother. I don't know what happened," she said. "But I know Kafele is not a monster."
Ward said she was unhappy with how she was treated by the Lake County prosecutor's office, and asked that Lake Criminal Court Judge Samuel Cappas have mercy on her son.
Lake County Deputy Prosecutor Reginald Marcus initially did not call on Ward to give a statement, because he said she had been "hostile" toward him. Marcus called Ward to the stand after Cappas said he would not be able to sleep without hearing from her.
Marcus asked Cappas to sentence Ward-Brown to 60 years in prison. Ward-Brown's younger siblings did not witness the shooting, but they saw its aftermath, he said.
Patricia Ward said Dennis Ward was a good man and she thinks about him every day.
"I love them both, in spite of how people feel," she said.
She said she did not want to see Kafele Ward-Brown go to prison for 60 years. She asked that he receive mental health treatment while incarcerated.
"I'm hurting every day," she said. "My family is still hurting every day. Every day."
Defense attorney Lemuel Stigler said Ward-Brown had no criminal history and wasn't likely to commit a similar crime after his sentence is served.
Stigler asked that Ward-Brown receive a 45-year sentence, the minimum for murder under the sentencing guidelines.
Ward-Brown declined to make a statement.
Cappas agreed that Ward-Brown should be shown leniency, because of his young age and lack of criminal history.
Cappas sentenced Ward-Brown to 48 years in prison, with credit for the time he's served since his arrest in April. Ward-Brown must complete at least 75% of the sentence.
"It's a horrible tragedy, Mr. Brown," Cappas said.