Shooter sentenced in killing at Dover apartment

Brett A. Scott

DOVER — The man police described as the shooter in a fatal robbery try at a Dover apartment complex last year was sentenced to 26 years in prison Tuesday morning by Superior Court Judge Jeffrey C. Clark.

Brett A. Scott opted not to speak just prior to sentencing in connection with the death of 21-year-old Dequan Dukes at Pine Grove Apartments on June 27, 2017, but did express sympathy for the late man’s family through his attorney.

Convicted charges included second-degree murder, first-degree robbery possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and second-degree conspiracy. Three other suspects were arrested after Dover Police investigated the death.

The murder charge brought a 45-year sentence that was suspended for 20 years, and the Court said the serious nature of the crime warranted more than a mandatory minimum sentence. Judge Clark the combination of a weapon and robbery plan led to a “foreseeable” result of murder.

Level IV and III probation were ordered after the sentence is served, and the judge ordered Scott to obtain his GED or a high school diploma in addition to completing substance abuse treatment and undergoing a mental health evaluation. The Court referenced Scott’s two children he now won’t see grow up.

Defense attorney Patrick J. Collins said Scott maintained his innocence and pointed to the not guilty finding of an alleged co-conspirator who he maintained set up a “drug and money ripoff.”

Scott was shot four times in an exchange of gunfire with Mr. Dukes, his attorney said. Speaking to the Court before sentencing, the late man’s grandmother said he carried a firearm for protection after being threatened.

Mr. Collins said Scott had lived a “rudderless life” and was passed from relative to relative growing up due to a lack of parental support. He had no felony record, but was convicted of “minor offenses” third-degree assault, criminal impersonation and resisting arrest, according to the attorney. There was also drug use and some dealing in his past, the defense said

“He was definitely not on the right path and it was probably inevitable he was going to get into trouble, but he got into the worst kind of trouble you can get into,” Mr. Collins said.

Also, Mr. Collins said, “If anything, Mr. Scott was guilty of poor choices that led him to get into the car with (an alleged co-conspirator) that led him to the apartment complex.”

Deputy Attorney General Jason C. Cohee wasn’t moved by the troubled upbringing narrative, calling it a “common refrain” and noting that “plenty of people grow up in difficult circumstances and become productive members of society.”

According to Mr. Cohee, Scott “went for quick money” and “provided muscle” during the incident.

In a victim’s impact statement, Mr. Dukes’ grandmother said “he wasn’t an angel but wasn’t the devil either. He was like most teens, they go through ups and downs.”

Her grandson sat with his mother every Sunday at church and had just earned an electromechanical certificate from Polytech and was proud of his first paycheck, the grandmother said.

“He was finding his path, he was 21,” the grandmother said. “He was not supposed to die but for God in his infinite wisdom (deciding), but God did not tell this man (Scott) that he had that right.”

Continuing on, the grandmother turned to Scott and said she wasn’t mad or angry at him but that “your conscience and heart have to deal with this for the rest of your life.”

The grandmother concluded with “All we have is tears and memories so you get what you deserve … you should have thought about it before you did it.”

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