Murder victim's family 'pleased' with plea deal

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 22, 2012

By Nathan Hardin
KANNAPOLIS – Melissa Sides says she’s happy with a plea deal that sent the teenager who murdered her brother to prison for 30 years.
But she didn’t feel that way in the courtroom last week.
Sides described the testimony during the plea hearing as “blood boiling.”
“To know that (the murderer) is so many feet away from you and (the murderer) was that many feet away from Jason …” Sides said. “But you can’t lose your head.”
Davon Ahkeem Tucker, 16, pleaded guilty Sept. 14 in Cabarrus County Superior Court to second-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, armed robbery, three counts of breaking and entering and three counts of felony larceny.
Judge Anna Mills Wagoner sentenced the teen to at least 30 years and up to 38 years in prison.
“We’re pleased that we got the 30,” Melissa Sides said. “But it still doesn’t take up the void of him not being here.”
Tucker, who was 15 at the time of the shooting, could have faced a trial before this summer. But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June ruled that it was unconstitutional for juveniles convicted of murder to be sentenced to life without parole.
North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue then signed a law in July stating convicted murderers younger than 18 must serve 25 years in prison before being eligible for parole.
Cabarrus County District Attorney Roxann Vaneekhoven said Tucker’s age was “certainly something we considered.”
“He could have very well only gotten 25 years,” Vaneekhoven said. “Essentially, we got more time with no risk.”
Jason Michael Sides was gunned down as he walked back to his Evelyn Avenue home in August 2011.
Sides had purchased a few beers and a pack of cigarettes from the E-Z Stop convenience store on Wright Avenue about 9:15 p.m. By 9:21 p.m., the first 911 call was made.
Sides was found lying in the street. He was shot in the upper body. Emergency crews tried to revive the 33-year-old at the scene, but they could not.
Sides’ walks to the store were “routine,” relatives said.
Melissa said his death was simply being in the “wrong place at the wrong time.”
Jason Sides left behind a now 15-year-old son. The teenager was one of about 14 relatives at the plea hearing Friday.
“We’ve went through his birthday without him. We just had a family reunion,” Melissa said. “It’s been hard.”
Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.