Imprisoned man gets 9 more years for stabbing inmate
Published: February 14, 2013
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ST. THOMAS - A 21-year-old who prosecutors described on Wednesday as "a one-man crime wave" will spend nine years in jail for illegally possessing firearms and stabbing a fellow inmate.
Jamal Fahie was arrested four times between late 2011 and early 2012, according to court records. The charges ranged from first-degree murder to unauthorized possession of a firearm.
A jury convicted Fahie in November in the murder case, and on Dec. 10, prosecutors offered Fahie a global plea deal consolidating the three other cases.
In those three cases, Fahie initially was charged with two counts of unauthorized possession of a firearm; unauthorized possession of marijuana with intent to distribute; unauthorized possession of cocaine; attempted first-degree murder; carrying or using a dangerous weapon during the commission of a violent crime; first-degree assault; and third-degree assault.
Fahie agreed to plead guilty to two counts of unauthorized possession of a firearm and the third-degree assault charge in exchange for the government dropping the remaining charges.
The government recommended a total sentence of 15 years on the convictions.
Fahie's attorney, Darren John-Baptiste, began Wednesday by pointing out that despite the numerous arrests, Fahie was before Judge James Carroll III for his first-ever sentencing. John-Baptiste said that prior to a September 2011 arrest, Fahie had no criminal background.
"So what happened?" Carroll asked.
John-Baptiste said Fahie was the victim of a shooting in April 2011.
"Following that incident, he made the decision to arm himself, and it all went downhill from there," John-Baptiste said.
Carroll also asked about the third-degree assault case, in which Fahie initially was charged with attempted first-degree murder for stabbing an inmate with a pocket knife.
John-Baptiste speculated that Fahie fell into the culture of "machismo that these young men have" in jail. He asked Carroll to sentence Fahie to a total of five years on the convictions.
Assistant Attorney General Sigrid Tejo-Sprotte, who described Fahie as "a one-man crime wave," argued that a harsher sentence would be appropriate given Fahie's pattern of lawlessness, even after he had been warned to obey the law with each consecutive arrest.
"This isn't a single instance," she said. "The defendant made these choices to arm himself. There are no mitigating circumstances to arm yourself, especially after being warned twice by this court not to possess a firearm."
Fahie's mother and grandmother spoke on his behalf; both mentioned his young son, who was born while Fahie has been in prison.
Fahie also spoke on his own behalf, softly telling the judge he takes full responsibility for his actions and he is "really and truly sorry" for the damage he caused. He told the judge he would "like to get a second chance" to help raise his son.
Carroll sentenced Fahie to four years on each of the gun charges, to be served concurrently, followed by five years on the assault charge. He also imposed a total of $28,000 in fines.
The hearing got off to a rocky start when Tejo-Sprotte asked for a continuance based on a sentencing memorandum filed Tuesday by John-Baptiste that argued the court could not consider Fahie's murder conviction in determining his sentencing in the three other cases.
Tejo-Sprotte said she was concerned, in light of the memorandum, about her sentencing request, which asked Carroll to sentence Fahie on the gun and assault convictions consecutive to the murder sentence. Based on the logic in John-Baptiste's memorandum, this would not be possible.
Carroll ruled the issue was not substantial enough to delay the hearing Wednesday because the judge handing down a subsequent sentence - in the murder case it will be Judge Michael Dunston - is tasked with deciding whether the sentences will be served consecutively or concurrently.
By law, Fahie is facing a life sentence on the November first-degree murder conviction.
However, the sentencing issue could become complicated if Fahie's attorney in that case, David Cattie, is successful in the appeal he has vowed to mount in the murder case.
- Contact reporter Lou Mattei at 714-9124 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.