CROWN POINT | A Chicago man faced a court gallery Friday and told the family of a slain man he was sorry for his role in the homicide.
"It's been tearing up my soul," he said.
Barrington Rhodes, 45, was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Clyde Lee.
The 46-year-old man was shot Dec. 22, 2009 in the parking lot of Wal-Mart in the 1800 block of 165th Street in Hammond. Lee, of Gary, died from a gunshot wound to his abdomen at St. Margaret Hospital in Hammond.
Detectives traced Rhodes to the fatal shooting after his DNA was found on a knit hat with a Barack Obama logo, according to the affidavit. The hat was one of the items officers found in Lee's green 1996 Chevrolet van.
Rhodes was seen on surveillance video getting into Lee's van at 10:02 p.m., according to court records. The men drove around the store's parking lot area, and then Rhodes was seen at 10:05 p.m. running toward a pickup truck.
He was charged Jan. 31, 2013 with murder and murder in the perpetration of a robbery in Lee's homicide. The charges were dismissed Friday as part of the plea agreement.
Defense attorney Matthew Fech said his client did not have any intent to kill Lee that day.
"This is a drug transaction that went wrong," Fech said.
Lee's wife, Dorita Lee, told the court all she had left was memories of her late husband. She said any forgiveness she has for Rhodes is because of her religion.
"As time goes on, I hope Rhodes can feel some remorse in his heart," she said.
Rhodes told the court he felt compelled to speak after hearing Dorita Lee's victim impact statement. He said he knew Lee well and the two had shared meals together.
"It's an unfortunate situation that got out of control," he said.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Salina Malone asked the court to accept the 15-year prison term that was part of the plea agreement.
Rhodes will receive credit for 1,376 credit days, and he will be part of a therapeutic community program to cope with drug addiction while in prison.
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