An enraged mother told one of the men involved in her son’s killing to “rot in hell” during a tense standoff inside a New York courthouse Wednesday that began after the man rolled his eyes while she was speaking.
Donna Nolan was separated by only a court officer as she shouted at Darren Dawson, an accomplice in the killing of her son, Michael, a former Oakland A’s prospect.
"I really don't give a damn what you feel or what you think," she told Dawson after he rolled his eyes when she said she would struggle to live without Michael, according to The Journal News. "You didn't feel anything. I hope you rot in hell. I don't give a damn if you die in prison."
Nolan, a 23-year-old pitcher, was drafted by the Athletics in 2014. His mother said he aspired to own his own heating and air conditioning business, in addition to pursuing a career in baseball.
Nolan was killed in September 2015 after being shot in the parking lot of a Burger King in Yonkers. Dawson and Tejmitra Singh, another accomplice, were sentenced Wednesday to terms of 9 years and 11 years, respectively. Nashaun Hunter, the shooter, will be sentenced on Nov. 16 and Garth O'Neil Cole, a third accomplice, on Dec. 1.
The killing on Sept. 18 was an act of retribution for a fight that broke out hours earlier as a result of a dispute over street racing, The Journal News reported, citing prosecutors, Hunter’s lawyer and a statement Cole had made to police.
The lawyer said one of Hunter’s friends had been assaulted by a group that included Nolan – a claim the family denies.
Cole told police he got in a car with the other three men and they hatched a plan to “beat up the guys” who attacked Hunter’s friend. But when they arrived at the Burger King parking lot, Singh pointed at Nolan’s group and Hunter started firing a small handgun out of the driver’s side rear window, Cole said.
"I only thought we were going to fight," Cole told authorities. "I never knew that Nashaun had a gun or I would have never drove up to Yonkers and got involved in this."
When the car pulled away, Cole told police that Hunter said he was "just trying to scare the kids and that he didn't hit anybody."
However, two of the bullets struck Nolan, who was rushed to a hospital and placed in a medically-induced coma. Three weeks later, he died.
"My brother's not waking up," Jimmy Nolan said through tears Thursday inside the courtroom. "My brother's only crime was standing in a parking lot. There's an agony that does not go away."
Singh’s lawyer, Jeffrey Chartier, said his client “expressed great remorse” for being involved in the killing. His relatives, who were also inside the courtroom, were brought to tears during victim impact statements from members of Nolan’s family. Dawson declined to comment.
But both men were rebuked by Judge Barry Warhit, who said “all four of you combined could never be half the man he was.”
The judge added, “Any bad karma that you receive in your life, you deserve.”
Hunter is expected to be sentenced to 25 years after pleading guilty to a first-degree manslaughter charge, while Singh and Dawson pleaded guilty to first-degree assault.
Cole, who pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, is facing a 5-year prison term.