ARLINGTON, TX – A 16-year-old boy who confessed to fatally shooting a classmate at Arlington Lamar High School in March has been sentenced to 40 years in a juvenile justice center. The decision was reached by jurors after less than an hour of deliberation in the Tarrant County Juvenile Court, due to the defendant’s minor status.
The teenager, who was 15 at the time of the incident, could have received a maximum sentence of 40 years for the murder of Ja’Shawn Poirier. Lisa Herrick, the defense attorney, noted the emotional toll the case took on the jurors, many of whom were visibly upset as the verdict was announced. The defendant also displayed significant emotional distress during the proceedings.
The incident also resulted in a 16-year-old girl being hit by a buckshot pellet in her face. She expressed satisfaction with the verdict, despite acknowledging the defendant’s youth. Her mother, an educator, expressed her prayers for all families involved and emphasized the importance of expressing pain without causing harm to others.
The defense suggested that the shooting was a retaliation for a sexual assault the defendant claimed to have experienced earlier in his life. However, Arlington police found no evidence to support these claims. A psychological evaluation of the defendant revealed an IQ of 74 and diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder, an unspecified disruptive impulse and control disorder, and borderline intellectual functioning. However, the psychologist found no correlation between these diagnoses and the defendant’s willingness to commit the crime.
The mothers of both the victim and the defendant also spoke out. The victim’s mother shared her ongoing struggle to come to terms with her son’s death, while the defendant’s mother acknowledged her son’s need for accountability. The defense argued for the possibility of rehabilitation at a state juvenile facility, while the prosecution highlighted the defendant’s disciplinary issues in juvenile detention.
The defendant will face another hearing at the age of 19 to determine whether he should be released from the juvenile system or transferred to an adult prison. This decision will be based on his conduct and progress in rehabilitation.