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Rhome gets 31 years for role in murder
Seattle Times staff reporter
A Seattle man convicted of first-degree murder last month for persuading a teenage girl to fatally stab another girl was sentenced Friday to 31 years in prison.
Demar Rhome, who defended himself during his trial, sat motionless as King County Superior Court Judge Nicole MacInnes refused to give him the "credit" he demanded for leading police to the body of 17-year-old Lashonda Flynn.
"You do not have a shred of concern or consideration for others," said MacInnes, who told Rhome he "deserves no leniency from this court" and gave him the maximum sentence for his crime.
During the two-week trial, Rhome tried to get the jury to believe that Kialani Brown, a 17-year-old girl he'd met on a telephone chat line in the week before the killing, masterminded the November 2003 stabbing of Flynn, a girl he lived with. Rhome, who was 20 at the time of the killing, said that Brown told him if he didn't go along with it she would try to pin the crime on him.
Prosecutors painted a picture of an egocentric predator who planned the stabbing and coerced Brown into doing it.
Brown, who previously confessed to the stabbing and was convicted of second-degree murder, is scheduled to be sentenced next week.
During his trial, Rhome — who MacInnes called a "compulsive talker" — said his mental problems are what prevented him from coming to Flynn's aid as he watched Brown stab her. His self-defense was marked by rambling, sometimes incoherent monologues, accusations and court disruptions.
Before the sentencing, friends and family members of both girls finally had their say.
"We lost a life by someone else's hands," said Jackie Campbell, Flynn's mother, in a letter read to the court by prosecutor Hugh Barber.
"My family just isn't the same. Every day and every night, they ask why."
Brown's parents, who attended some of the trial but who weren't present Friday, wrote a letter that was read by friend Kim Greene. In it they asked the judge for a severe punishment "that will offer protection to the 17-year-old girls of the future."
In asking for the high end of the standard sentencing range, Barber called Rhome "profoundly self-centered and entirely unrepentant" and said a longer sentence would better protect the community.
Before his sentence was delivered, Rhome was permitted to speak for about 20 minutes. He accused Seattle police of framing him and told the families of Flynn and Brown that they "obviously wrongfully hate me."
"I deserve to receive credit," said Rhome, who led police to Flynn's body, which he and Brown left in Discovery Park. "Many people said it would have been huge in my favor to lead the cops to a dead body."
Rhome, who said once during the hearing that he felt sorry for Flynn, appeared in shackles and after the sentence filed paperwork for an appeal.
As she tearfully addressed the court, Flynn's cousin Stephanie Joyner remembered first the baby she helped bring home from the hospital, and then the young girl Flynn became — a girl who dreamed of someday having a house, kids, a car, "a loving man" and of maybe becoming a doctor.
Instead, Joyner said, she was unlucky enough to meet Rhome. Turning to him, she said, she often thinks of Flynn in her last moments as she was being stabbed.
"I can only imagine her yelling," Joyner said to Rhome. "As you chose to watch, and wait, and throw her away like trash."
Natalie Singer: 206-464-2704 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company