Two men were sentenced this week for their roles in the shooting death of an Anchorage couple during a botched robbery on Christmas Eve of 2016.
Visiting Judge Steve Cole said the case was extremely tragic before sentencing Savon Wiley, who orchestrated the robbery, to serve 56 years in prison and handing down a 109-year sentence for Lamarkus Mann, one of the shooters. Prosecutors say two other men were also involved in the killings.
On Dec. 24, 2016, three men burst into the home of Christopher and Danielle Brooks with the intent to rob the couple of marijuana and cash. The men put Danielle’s 5-year-old son in a bedroom before going on a “rapid-fire shooting spree” that killed both Danielle and Christopher Brooks, Cole said during Mann’s sentencing Thursday.
Danielle Brooks was shot three times by Jaylyn Franklin, who was 20 at the time. Her husband was struck by all three men’s gunfire: Christopher Brooks ran from the house and collapsed in the front yard with 11 bullet wounds.
A neighbor called 911 and tried to offer immediate aid to Christopher Brooks. He had a faint heartbeat when first responders arrived but died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.
Danielle’s son later told police that “ninjas came into the apartment home and killed his parents with a hammer,” Cole said.
Investigators saw on surveillance footage that three men fled the scene in a vehicle. The license plate belonged to someone associated with the men, and police determined that Franklin, Mann and DeAnthony Harris were the shooters, according to charging documents.
Harris, who is still awaiting trial on first-degree murder and robbery charges, was also injured by gunfire during the robbery and was dropped off at a hospital that day, Cole said.
Franklin pleaded guilty to two charges of second-degree murder last year. He was sentenced to serve 100 years in prison.
Investigators determined through text messages that Wiley had arranged the robbery. Prosecutors said during his sentencing hearing Monday that he was the “master puppeteer” in the home invasion. Wiley previously purchased marijuana from Christopher Brooks and defense attorneys said he believed Brooks would not put up a fight if robbed.
Wiley, on the premise of purchasing marijuana from Brooks, learned when Brooks would be home. Wiley simultaneously alerted the other three men when Brooks returned home so they could enter the home to steal drugs and cash.
Family and friends of the Brookses’ spoke out during both Wiley’s and Mann’s hearings this week about the irreparable heartache they’ve endured since the couple was killed.
“It’s not just one event that happened. It’s an experience, almost four years in the making,” Danielle’s stepfather told the court. “It’s not going to end. We are impacted every day, over and over again. All we have are the memories and what-ifs, what if this didn’t happen. We have memories of Danielle’s life, such as the birth of our grandson, of her graduation and of her marriage — these are three memories we have left of Danielle and the life she was making for herself. However, the memory that will always eclipse all other memories is that on December 24, 2016.”
The family said Christopher left behind six sons and a daughter. Danielle’s son has been deeply traumatized by the loss of his parents, family said.
During Wiley’s sentencing hearing Wednesday, he offered his condolences to the Brookses’ family and friends as he appeared by video conference from Goose Creek Correctional Center. He was convicted by a jury last summer on two counts of second-degree murder and first-degree robbery.
“I don’t know how it feels to lose kids or lose my parents, but I do know how it feels to lose loved ones. ... That’s like the biggest loss of all because now you can never call for help, advice, love or support,” he said. “What happened to them is unbelievable. Life will never be the same for your family or mine.”
Wiley, who was not physically present during the killings, said he was not a murderer and has learned to “watch the company I keep around.”
After lengthy discussion and deliberation Wednesday, Cole sentenced Wiley to serve 56 years in prison — 25 years for each murder and six years for robbery.
Mann declined to make a statement during his sentencing hearing Thursday. He was found guilty last summer by a jury on charges of first-degree murder and robbery.
He received a 109-year sentence Thursday: 50 years for each murder and nine years for robbery.
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