By Mark F. Gray, Special to the AFRO, mgray@afro.com

Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha N. Braveboy announced that two cases have been put to rest with convictions for incidents dating back to 2016. One of the defendants will spend the rest of his life in jail for killing a 68-year old U.S. Marine Corps veteran and the other has been sentenced to 10 years for manslaughter and second degree assault after a fist fight became fatal.

Both incidents were the result of circumstances surrounding automobile violence.

State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy convicted two defendants of fatal incidents in relation to automobile accidents. (Courtesy Photo)

Demarko Wheeler, 23, was sentenced to life in prison with all but 70 years suspended after being convicted of killing Alonzo Jackson three years ago. On April 25 Wheeler, who is from the District, was found guilty of first-degree murder, armed carjacking, use of a hand gun in a crime of violence and other related charges for the attack on the former Marine, while stealing his car, by a Prince George’s County jury.   

The State’s Attorney’s Office was able to prove Wheeler took Jackson’s car while he was pumping gas and shot him and then entered the vehicle. Once Wheeler realized the keys were not inside, he left the vehicle then stood over Jackson while brandishing a gun, and demanded the keys. Despite his fatal wounds, Jackson reached into his pocket to find the keys and handed them to Wheeler who then drove off in his car. 

“I am pleased that the court recognized the heinous acts Mr. Demarko Wheeler committed and that we were able to deliver justice,” said  Braveboy in a published statement. “I hope the family and loved ones of Mr. Alzonzo Jackson can find some measure of peace in knowing that Mr. Wheeler will never be able to harm anyone ever again.”

Thomas Hughes, 32, of Greenbelt, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, suspending all but eight, for manslaughter and second degree assault, causing the death of a man after a fist fight. 

On June 4, 2018, Bowie police officers responded to a reported assault in a shopping center parking lot, where they found Nicholas Keys, 21, of Bowie, lying on the ground. Keys was transported to a hospital and underwent emergency surgery for his injuries.

After hearing arguments and evaluating evidence during a two-day trial, the jury returned a guilty verdict against Hughes after only five and a half hours of deliberations.

The investigation and trial revealed that Keys confronted Hughes’ girlfriend for hitting his car door with hers. After an argument started, Hughes hit Keys twice with his fist which knocked him to the ground. On June 8, 2018, Keys was taken off life support and died as a result of his injuries.

“I am pleased that we are able to bring closure to this case for Mr. Nicholas Keys’ family. This was an unfortunate case in which a man lost his life at a very young age over a minor dispute,” said Braveboy. “There are so many other ways to resolve conflict and if an individual resorts to unnecessary violence, we will hold them accountable.”