GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A day after a judge sentenced a 17-year-old girl to 140 years in prison on murder and gang charges, the victim’s family says it’s time to start the healing process.
Faith Burns, 20, was shot to death at a Gwinnett County home on Valentine’s Day 2021. Prosecutors said 17-year-old Damia Mitchell led a group of four other girls to her ex-girlfriend’s home on Mountain Ashe Court, where someone ended up firing at least 19 shots, killing Burns.
Prosecutors argued that Mitchell was involved in street gangs and that she fired the fatal shots. A jury ruled that Mitchell did not have a gun at the time of the shooting, but convicted her on manslaughter, aggravated assault and several gang charges.
Mitchell was sentenced to 140 years in prison.
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Channel 2′s Gwinnett County Bureau Chief Tony Thomas was in Lawrenceville, where Burn’s father said he feels like he got handed a worse sentence than Mitchell.
“One thing I would say is that I’m upset with the sentence that I got,” Allen Burns said. “I got sentenced to life without my daughter. Everybody called her my twin. Looked just like me.”
Mitchell’s family was at the courthouse Tuesday, protesting what they called an excessive sentence. The family argues that Mitchell had no prior criminal history and that she was not the shooter.
Burns said there is no comparison.
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“She’s never coming back. I lost my daughter,” Burns said. “They might get a chance to see and talk to their children, but we will never get that opportunity.”
The four girls who went with Mitchell and participated in the attack all reached plea deals Tuesday. Janae Washington, Kennedy Collins, Diamond Giminez and Jocelyn Spencer all agreed to plea deals.
Mitchell’s mother, Vanissa Jackson, said her daughter is happy her friends got lighter sentences.
“They got the same charges. She is happy for them,” Jackson said. “They made an example out of my baby.”
Spencer, Collins and Giminez all got sentenced to four years in prison. Washington, the only one to testify at Mitchell’s trial, was sentenced to two years.
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