Man, 20, gets 15 years for his involvement in Jearicka Mack case

Simeon Demps looks to his family before being sentenced to 15 years in prison for accessory to murder in the May 14, 2011 shooting death of Jearicka Mack in courtroom 3C of the Alachua County Criminal Justice Center in Gainesville, Fla., Tuesday, October 16, 2012. Demps drove the getaway vehicle for shooter Dontavious Copeland.

Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 2:58 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 10:54 p.m.

A judge on Tuesday sentenced Simeon Demps to 15 years in prison as an accessory to the shooting death of 15-year-old Jearicka Mack.

Demps, 20, pleaded guilty to murder accessory after the fact on Oct. 1, at the start of Dontavious Copeland’s trial. He has been in custody since the shooting.

He drove the getaway car after Copeland, 18, shot Mack, 15, outside a party in May 2011.

A jury found Copeland guilty of first-degree murder on Oct. 5, and his sentencing is scheduled for next week.

Eighth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Mark W. Moseley presided on Tuesday morning, and he sentenced Demps to 10 years for the accessory charge and five years for a violation of probation. The sentence is concurrent.

Demps also received five years of supervised probation, and Moseley credited Demps with 514 days for time served.

According to Spencer Mann, chief investigator at the State Attorney’s Office, prisoners generally have to serve 85 percent of a sentence for crimes such as accessory before they are eligible for parole.

“I believe you made a wise decision by resolving this,” Moseley told Demps, adding that Demps’ sentence might not have been as heavy had he pleaded earlier.

Demps walked into the courtroom clean shaven and with short hair, in an Alachua County jail uniform. He stood next to his appointed attorney, Evelyn Sapp, and kept his hands folded behind his back while Moseley addressed him. His family sat in rows behind him.

Demps’ mother, Tiffany Green, stepped up to the podium and addressed the court on behalf of her son. She thanked the court, and she said she has been having health issues and doesn’t want to be far away from her son.

“I was just hoping maybe they can keep him kind of close,” she said. “So that I can visit him on a regular basis.”

Judge Moseley said he certainly could make a recommendation, but where Demps would end up wasn’t up to the judge.

“I do think that they’d at least consider it,” he said, referring to the Department of Corrections, “but I don’t have the authority to tell them.”

Moseley looked right at Demps and nodded his head when he spoke to him. He said he hoped Demps ended up somewhere with educational opportunities.

“This certainly is a tragic case, and doubly tragic for you. Mr. Demps,” he said. “You’re going to be a young man when you get out. I hope you get on a better path.”

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