Darius T. Hicks was sentenced to life in prison plus 43 more years for murdering Shawndre Fulton on Thanksgiving morning 2004. Fulton, Hicks’ girlfriend, was eight months pregnant at the time.
"There are some cases and there are some crimes where rehabilitation is not what the court should look for," said Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Stanley P. Klein. In those cases, he said, "it is punishment and protection for society" that should be addressed.
Last December, a Fairfax Circuit Court jury found Hicks, 31, guilty of first-degree murder, the unlawful killing of a fetus and use of a firearm during the commission of a felony. The jury recommended that Hicks serve the maximum time for each charge against him. Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty in the case.
"In this case, the crimes were absolutely senseless, they were horrific, and a woman who didn't deserve anything negative to happen to her suffered a tragic, brutal death at your hands," Klein told Hicks, before sentencing him. "Additionally, a fetus was just about to become a baby, your baby," Klein said, "but was killed before that fetus had the opportunity to breathe its first breath or see the light of day."
Thanksgiving 2004 was supposed to be a season of hope for Fulton and her family, said Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Raymond F. Morrogh.
"A pregnant woman … is something special," he said. "This young lady was about to be a mother."
Instead, Hicks murdered Fulton, shooting her seven times and leaving her dead in a Mount Vernon park, where she was found Thankgiving morning.
"Some crimes are evil, some criminals are evil, and this defendant is an evil person," he said.
HIS LACK OF REMORSE shouldn't be held against him since he pleaded innocent during his trial, said defense attorney Vanessa M. Antoun.
"He is very sorry, and has a lot of feeling towards Ms. Fulton and he is extremely sorry for what happened," she said. Antoun requested that her client be sentenced to the midpoint of sentencing guidelines, which would be a substantial sentence that doesn't minimize Fulton's death but one that gives Hicks hope that he would be released at some point.
Judge Klein offered Hicks the opportunity to address the court and Fulton's family, who sat in the courtroom Friday.
Hicks offered no apology, didn't address the family and proceeded to hint at Fulton's problems.
"Look at the pre-sentence report and what it speaks of me, my life, and what I've been through," he said. "If you actually look at it, you'd get a picture of the person I am."