RICHMOND, Va. -- The teenager who shot and killed a Virginia Union University student asked a Richmond judge why he received such a harsh sentence. "Because you took a life," Judge Richard Taylor told Willie Daquan Lee, 19, after he handed down the teen's prison sentence.
Willie Lee had previously admitted to the February 2014 murder of Virginia Union University student Kahron Lee, no relation. Willie Daquan Lee pleaded guilty to Kahron Lee's murder this past summer.
Willie Lee told the court the night he killed Kahron Lee, he had been walking around Richmond for four hours looking for someone to rob. He said he found Kahron Lee walking near VUU and shot the student in the back as he walked away. Even telling friends Kahron "bucked" at him, forcing Willie Lee to react.
After the deadly shooting Willie Lee went to a friend's house to play video games.
The next evening, Willie Lee broke into two homes. During one of the burglaries Willie Lee admitted to taking a bottle of bourbon. While binge drinking, Willie Lee told friends what he had done. The U.S. Marshal’s Regional Fugitive Task Force arrested Willie Lee on March 11 on unrelated charges. Soon Willie Lee was connected to the Kahron Lee killing.
In court Friday afternoon, Willie Lee's defense attorney Devika Davis asked the judge to sentence her client to 20 years for the murder. Telling Judge Taylor, Willie Lee had a difficult up-bringing, she explained that Willie Lee has eight siblings and had to fend for himself when he was a child. Davis told the court Lee's mother was addicted to drugs and was in and had been in and out of jail since Lee was a child. As for Lee's father, the two oftentimes lived in homeless shelters and at one time lived inside a shed. Davis said although Willie Lee was over 18, he was in many ways "still a child." Willie Lee's parents were not in court Friday.
The judge listened as both the Commonwealth's Attorney and the defense lawyer spoke. In the end the judge said "this is a tragedy for both families." However Judge Taylor said Willie Lee could not blame his tough childhood on taking a life. The judge then asked Willie Lee if he had anything to say to the court. Willie Lee, already standing, turned to the victim's family and apologized. He told them he was ready to face the punishment from the court. Willie Lee also asked for forgiveness saying he didn't want Kahron's family to see him as a "hoodlum or thug."
In total Lee was given 40 years for first degree murder, 10 suspended; 20 years for robbery, 14 suspended; 3 years mandatory for a firearms offense (1); and 5 years mandatory for a firearms offense (2). He will have to serve 44 of those years. As Judge Taylor was handing down Willie Lee's punishment, he told Kahron Lee's family the approximately 70 impact statements written on behalf of the victim spoke volumes.
Kahron Lee was a member of the Virginia Union University track team. Police previously said Willie Lee killed Kahron Lee while trying to steal the Northern Virginia native's shoes.