Murder Defendant Sentenced to Life-Plus Ten Years, With a Chance for Reduction

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“I’m gonna put you in the driver’s seat to earn a reduced sentence,” Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Erik S. Atas told a homicide defendant on July 2 before sentencing him to life plus ten years for the 2022 murder of 25-year-old Donte Miller

In December 2023, a jury found Tyrone Fenner, 35, guilty of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, firearm use in a felony violent crime and possession of a firearm with a felony conviction in connection to Miller’s Nov. 15, 2022, murder. 

Before Judge Atas, the prosecutor explained that Fenner’s vehicle was seen circling near the 2600 block of East Hoffman Street where the shooting occurred, and that video footage recorded what appeared to be Fenner getting out of the vehicle and looking in the direction of the victim moments before shots were fired from a gun that appeared to match the one later recovered from under the driver’s seat of Fenner’s vehicle.

Although there was neither a clear motive for the murder nor footage of the shooting itself, the prosecutor emphasized that, “This was a well thought out homicide. This wasn’t a ‘drive down the block and shoot someone’ homicide.” 

During sentencing, the prosecutor also reminded the court that the murder occurred while Fenner was on probation for a 2022 second-degree assault conviction, resulting in a probation violation for which he received a sentence of four years from Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Althea M. Handy on March 1.

The prosecutor recommended the maximum sentence for all four charges, meaning life sentences which would run concurrently for both first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder as well as 20 years for firearm in a felony violent crime and 15 years for firearm possession with a felony conviction, which would run consecutively both to the life sentences and to each other. 

Fenner’s defense attorney, Roland Harris, asked Judge Atas to consider sentencing his client to life suspending all but 50 years–close to a plea offer made by the prosecution before Fenner’s trial began. Harris explained that Fenner would be able to receive substantial rehabilitation before becoming eligible for parole after serving 50 percent of his sentence. 

Judge Atas instead sentenced Fenner to concurrent life sentences for both his first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder convictions, 10 years, the first five years without the possibility of parole, for firearm use in a felony violent crime consecutive to the life sentences and 15 years, suspending all but five years, concurrent to his life sentences for possession of a firearm with a felony conviction. Fenner will also have five years of probation upon release. 

Fenner was granted a credit of 443 days for his incarceration between Dec. 13, 2022 and Feb. 29, the day before his sentencing for his parole violation. The four years that Fenner is serving for violating his parole are also concurrent to his life sentences. 

However, Judge Atas emphasized that the sentence that he delivered was not set in stone. 

“You’re going to work towards the recommendation your lawyer asked for today,” Judge Atas told Fenner, explaining to the defendant that he would consider reducing his sentence in the future if he refrained from committing any more violent infractions while in prison. According to the prosecutor, Fenner committed two violent infractions against other prisoners while incarcerated prior to his sentencing. 

“I won’t see violence or I won’t see you,” Judge Atas cautioned Fenner before concluding the sentencing. 

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