La Crosse Teenager Sentenced to Life in Prison

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - The La Crosse man accused of shooting and killing a 17-year-old was sentenced to life in prison Friday.

Deshawn Randall is convicted of first-degree intentional homicide in the death of George Miller.

On Aug. 21, 19-year-old Randall shot Miller nine times after an argument on the 1300 block of Redfield Street.

In court Friday, a half-dozen people from George Miller's family spoke through tears about how great of a person George was.

Members of Randall's family spoke as well, apologizing and asking for forgiveness for their son, grandson and nephew.

"On Aug. 21, our living son was stolen from our hearts. This was the worst day of our lives. It still feels like a bad dream that I haven't woken up from," Miller's mother Valerie Thomas said.

Miller's family said they still can't understand why this tragedy happened. Why their son and Randall went from being best friends to enemies in a matter of a few weeks.

"He invited you into my home. He fed you, he clothed you," Thomas said, looking at Randall.

Many of Randall's family members said they never believed he could kill another person.

"I know what he did was wrong, but he's a good kid," Randall's grandma, Debora Washington said.

"I (thought) that's not my nephew. I had him in my home a few times with my children, he didn't have that attitude, he never had that attitude toward his mom, his grandma, toward none of us, I don't know where it came from," Randall's uncle Rahsuol Ali said.

Although Randall's family couldn't believe what he had done, the La Crosse County District Attorney Tim Gruenke thought differently.

"He is no doubt somebody who is a killer. He assassinated George Miller in broad daylight in front of almost a dozen witnesses," Gruenke said. "George ran another block, hid behind the Badger Corrigating trucks on the ground where a witness was unloading a truck saw Deshawn come around the corner and he basically emptied his gun into him."

Randall's attorney, Michael Covey, said Randall's upbringing wasn't the best, and lead him down a path of crime. He said Randall is so young and emotionally immature, he will change.

Covey asked Judge Romona Gonzalez for a chance for parole.

"I'm going to asking for you to show more mercy to Deshawn than Deshawn showed to George," Covey said.

During her ruling, Judge Romona Gonzalez had to wipe away tears from her eyes, and eventually did grant Randall a chance at parole after 25 years.

Randall read a letter he wrote to Miller's family saying he was sorry for what he did. He acknowledged the two were good friends and he wishes he could go back and change what happened that day in August.

Randall will be 44 when he can apply for parole.

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