Augusta woman found guilty of murder in shooting of paraplegic man

 

Judy Washington was sentenced to life in prison Thursday after an emotional outpouring from the family of the man she killed.

After three days of eyewitness testimony about the death of her brother, Steve Mikel, Tacita Scott’s grief and anger had been rubbed raw.

“I haven’t reached the point of forgiveness, and that hurts me,” Scott said. “That’s not my character.”

The charges against Washington – felony and malice murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime – stemmed from July 31, when she was socializing with Mikel on Ramsey Street.

Washington shot Mikel, a paraplegic, four times with a small revolver after he refused to return her purse when she asked for it.

The jury found her guilty of all the charges after deliberating for three hours Wednesday afternoon and an hour Thursday morning.

Superior Court Judge David Roper issued the mandatory sentence of life in prison.

Testimony at trial and during the sentence hearing acknowledged that Washington, 52, and Mikel, 45, were drug addicts.

“This is the harsh and barbaric nature of an active addiction,” said the victim’s brother, Shannon Mikel.

Roper picked up that theme, saying that if it weren’t for the “rampant” use of drugs, Mikel and Washington might have never met.

Washington’s daughter broke out into loud sobs when the verdict was announced and had to be led from the courtroom; Washington softly cried into her hands as jurors were given their last instructions.

Washington’s attorney, Holly Chapman, apologized on behalf of her client and said she’s been “torn up by this from the day it happened.”

Assistant District Attorney Geof­frey Fogus called the trial one of his most difficult murder cases to prosecute.

“There are good people on both sides,” he said. “I hope this is an opportunity for Miss Washington to make peace and realize there is a penalty for doing crime.”

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