VICTIM’S KIN SPEAK OF SLAIN MAN’S DEVOTION TO CHURCH, FAMILYBOSTON, Jan. 3, 2005 – A Roxbury man convicted of second-degree murder last week was sentenced to life in prison for shooting a 26-year-old father of two in the Madison Park housing development three years ago, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley announced today.
Suffolk Superior Court Judge Stephen E. Neel sentenced KEVIN SANDERS, 26 (D.O.B. 11/4/79), to the mandatory term for second-degree murder, life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years, plus an additional term of 4-5 years for illegal gun possession. Sanders, who will serve his time at the Massachusetts Correctional Institute at Cedar Junction, was also ordered to submit a sample for the state’s DNA database.
Prior to sentencing, the victim’s mother, Debra Smith, addressed the court to express her pain and loss, comparing it to the amputation of a limb. “I miss my son,” she said. “It was love, pure love between a mother and child that cannot be replaced by old photos, old cards that were given, and childhood gifts made in school.” She also told of her son’s devotion to God and religion, saying that he had turned away from the streets after finding acceptance at church. “We will never forget the presence he had in our lives,” she said.
Nicole Watkins, Smith’s girlfriend, also addressed the court, telling Judge Neel of the hardships she faces as the single mother of Smith’s young son and the hardships the boy will face as he grows up without a father. She read from a poem a relative had written for the newborn boy. “I will never remember my father’s face,” she read. “I will only have pictures of a man I never knew.”
Sanders was convicted of second-degree murder on Dec. 29. Evidence introduced at trial by Assistant District Attorney Edmond Zabin showed that on Sept. 26, 2002, he and Smith argued heatedly in front of 1 Kerr Way. Following the argument, Sanders left the scene in his mother’s Jeep Cherokee and returned on foot a few minutes later.
Witness testimony established that, upon his return to the scene, Sanders began shouting at Smith again as Sanders’ mother and another woman tried to restrain him. Pushing past the women, Sanders walked toward Smith, pulled out a gun, and fired several shots, striking Smith in the head and torso. Sanders kept firing at Smith as the victim lay on the ground, Zabin said.
An investigation by the Boston police and Suffolk district attorney’s homicide units located witnesses who saw Sanders either arguing with or shooting Smith. Investigators also executed a search warrant on the defendant’s Shawmut Avenue home. Based on identification, forensic, and physical evidence collected during that investigation, Sanders was charged the day after the shooting.
The defendant’s mother, NADINE SANDERS, 45 (D.O.B. 8/12/60), also faces charges, having been indicted three years ago by a Suffolk County grand jury. Evidence suggests she lied to the grand jury investigating the shooting and tried to prevent other witnesses from testifying truthfully. Her trial for perjury, suborning perjury, and witness intimidation is pending.

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