The teenager who pleaded guilty to killing a pizza delivery man last year was sentenced inside a Dorchester County General Sessions courtroom in St. George this morning. Stephawn Brown, 19, of North Charleston, pleaded guilty to murder and armed robbery on Thursday, three days into his trial. Sentencing had been postponed until today.
Circuit Judge Ed Dickson sentenced Brown to 49 years for the murder and 30 for the armed robbery, with the sentences to be served concurrently. Brown is not eligible for parole.
Brown’s attorney, Mark Leiendecker, a public defender, asked the judge for 45 years, which was on the lower range of what the judge said he was considering.
Leiendecker told the judge Brown had a hard life and came from an abusive upbringing. Brown shot 20-year-old Maraleius Birdsong, a Domino’s Pizza delivery man, in the head outside the Appian Way Apartments in North Charleston on March 9, 2012, according to prosecutors.
His co-defendant, 18-year-old Jontae Davis, had pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and armed robbery the day the trial started. Davis accepted a plea deal that sentenced him to prison for 20 years. In exchange, he testified against Brown on Tuesday.
Brown and Davis planned to rob a pizza deliveryman, according to Davis’ testimony. Brown ordered food from the Domino’s Pizza on Dorchester Road in the Coosaw Creek neighborhood. Birdsong happened to be the delivery driver assigned to the order.
While Birdsong walked to his car in the apartment complex parking lot, he was approached by Brown and Davis, according to prosecutors.
Brown pointed a 9 mm gun at Birdsong. That gun was later recovered by police with Brown’s DNA on it, prosecutors said. Brown demanded the food, which Birdsong handed over, Davis said when he testified earlier this week. Brown also asked for Birdsong’s cell phone, but he had left it in the car, 1st Circuit Assistant Solicitor Russell Hilton said in court. Davis told the jury earlier this week that Brown became upset when Birdsong didn’t turn over a cell phone. When Birdsong turned around to run away, Brown shot him in the back of the head and ran off with the food, some of which was later found in his apartment,
Read more in upcoming editions of The Post and Courier.
Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.
Teresa Gardner (2nd from left) spoke of her son Maraleius Birdsong, a student and Domino´s Pizza delivery man, who was fatally shot in North Charleston on March 9, 2012. Mr. Birdsong's aunt Ragena (cq) Bullock (from left), grandmother Martha Roser-Bible, aunt Julianna Cruz and cousin Leonard Gardner also spoke. Stephawn Brown, 19, of North Charleston, pleaded guilty to murder and armed robbery and was sentenced to 49 years for the shooting death of the 20-year-old Birdsong. The trial was held in the Dorchester County Courthouse in St. George with sentencing on Friday February 15, 2013. (Wade Spees/postandcourier.com)×
A family photo of shooting victim Maraleius Birdsong.×
Stephawn Brown shown here in an April 2012 file photo, was sentenced to 49 years in prison Friday after pleading guilty to a murder charge in the March slaying of Domino's Pizza delivery man Maraleius Birdsong.×
Stephawn Brown, 19, of North Charleston, pleaded guilty to murder and armed robbery and was sentenced to 49 years for the shooting death of 20-year-old Maraleius Birdsong, a student and Domino´s Pizza delivery man, in North Charleston on March 9, 2012, according to prosecutors. The trial was held in the Dorchester County Courthouse in St. George with sentencing on Friday February 15, 2013. (Wade Spees/postandcourier.com)×