"I think the sentence is ridiculous. I think it sends the exact wrong message out to the most violent criminals in our city: that you can shoot our children and get the minimum sentence for that," Davis said. "With all do respect to the court, I don't think it makes any sense and I honestly don't understand it."
Pickard, 26, of Redfield Street near Callowhill, was on probation stemming from a drug conviction the day of the triple shooting. He turned in his chair and grinned broadly at his extended family after the sentence was read.
Moments before, he apologized to them and to Anetta Johns, 26, the mother of two of his victims, Joseph Brown, now 10, who was shot in the buttocks, and Deshauon Brown, now 4, who was shot in the groin. The boys were playing outside their home near 67th Street and Woodland Avenue at 3:30 p.m. when the bullets Pickard meant for rival Marquis Wesley, 19, tore into them. Shot in the back, Wesley has since recovered.
"I'm ashamed to say that I was a part of anything that took place," said Pickard, who added that he has three children of his own.
Johns and her husband, Dwayne Dillard, 27, were disgusted with the sentence and bolted from the courtroom seconds after Shirdan-Harris announced it.
"I don't think it's fair. Five to 10 years for shooting kids? Please! That's nothing; he almost died," she said of Deshauon, who had two blood transfusions during surgery. "I'm speechless."
Dillard, the boys' stepfather, said they are now afraid to go outside unless he, their mother or grandmother is with them. "This impacted them tremendously. As kids, they should be able to go outside and play," he said.
To the judge he added: "She needs to feel that pain ... what those kids went through. If that judge felt that pain, I guarantee you that 32 to 65 [years] would have been on the table. Nothing less."
Dejected, Johns said, "I just would like her to rethink her judgment because that was not right. I don't see how she got that verdict — 5 to 10 years. I just don't understand."
Many in the courtroom were also confused with Shirdan-Harris' reasoning. Before sentencing Pickard, she said the court could not ignore the fact that "two innocent children were shot," and due to the fact that he was on probation at the time of the shooting "the court finds that there is not a lot of rehabilitative potential."
Davis, the prosecutor, had asked for three consecutive sentences of 10 to 20 years for each victim and 2 1/2 to five years for the gun possession conviction.
In addition to giving Pickard a fraction of that time, Shirdan-Harris also sentenced him to five years of probation after he is released. With time served, he could be released from prison in about three years.
Contact Mensah M. Dean at 215-568-8278 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mensahdean