A man found guilty of killing a worker at a hotel in Prince George's County and holding a gun to the pregnant belly of another worker was sentenced on Friday to life in prison.
Deandre Weems, 22, was sentenced on Friday to life in prison plus 20 years in the murder of Jesse Chavez, 27, a bar manager at the Oxon Hill Clarion Hotel. He was convicted in August.
Chavez's mother, Vivian Chavez said the sentence provided some comfort but Weems should have spared her first-born son after he robbed the business.
"He already had the money. Why didn't he just leave?" the mother said, her hands shaking violently.
Weems shot Chavez on Oct. 12, 2013 when Chavez tried to help his coworker, who was in danger at the hotel's front desk. Weems had jumped over the front desk, demanded money from the pregnant woman and pointed a gun to her head and then her abdomen, authorities said.
The woman complied, handing over $300, but Chavez rushed over to help. The two men struggled, and Weems shot Chavez in the chest at point-blank range. Video surveillance caught part of the confrontation.
Officers arrived to find Chavez suffering from a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
"He was a kind, gentle person and he was looking out for a coworker who screamed for help," Chavez's friend Carla McClinton said in the wake of his death.
Weems was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder and assault. His lawyer asked for a shorter sentence and argued in court on Friday that his client had grown up in foster care and group homes and had lacked stability.
Weems' sister declined to comment on her brother's behalf in court but maintained his innocence.
[Chavez] was a hero in this situation and unfortunately Mr. Weems callously shot him in cold blood," Prince George's County State's Attorney's Office spokeswoman Gina Ford said.
Shortly after his death, Chavez's younger sister Vivian told News4's Tracee Wilkins that her brother died the way he lived, thinking of others.
"I want to see the men in prison for life, just as they deserve," said Vivian Chavez.
Weems' alleged accomplices, Kimfrey Williams and Rinaldo Washington, have been charged with the same offenses as Weems, the statement said.
Authorities believe Williams was the getaway driver and Washington was the lookout during the robbery. The two men will be tried together in a trial set to begin March 7, 2016.
Weems was given a chance to apologize in court on Friday, but he remained silent.