Shooter gets tougher sentence 2d time around

Posted: August 18, 2012

Facing a courtroom packed with top police brass and about 70 Southwest Philadelphia residents, a Philadelphia judge today resentenced Kevin Pickard to 17 to 34 years in prison for a 2010 vendetta shooting that wounded a drug rival and two young children caught in the cross fire.

Common Pleas Court Judge Lisette Shirdan-Harris did not refer to the overflow crowd in the courtroom in vacating her Aug. 10 sentence of 5 to 10 years for the 26-year-old Pickard.

The judge simply restated the factors justifying the new sentence under state sentencing guidelines and mostly cited the recklessness of opening fire on the hot summer Saturday afternoon of Sept. 18, 2010.

The jury found that Pickard waited for his quarry, rival Marquis Wesley, then 19, to leave a cellphone store at 67th Street and Woodland Avenue. As Wesley left, the jury found, Pickard opened fire with six shots from a .45-caliber handgun.

One bullet struck Wesley, severing an artery in his leg and nearly killing him. Two others hit two brothers playing on the street. Deshaown Brown, 2, was hit in the groin and Joseph Brown, 8, in the buttocks. Both spent weeks hospitalized and going to rehabilitation centers.

Assistants District Attorney Bill Davis, who asked the judge to reconsider her minimum sentence - three 5- to 10-year prison terms to run concurrently - saying it made it seem as if the wounds sustained by the two children "did not count."

Defense attorney W. Fred Harrison Jr. urged Shirdan-Harris to stick with her original sentence, arguing that Pickard maintains that he was mistakenly identified as the shooter.

"Nothing has changed since Aug. 10, nothing in Philadelphia has changed," Harrison said. "And nobody is trying to justify the fact that three people were shot on this street."

Pickard told the judge that he was innocent, called Davis a "liar" and said those who packed the court hearing were not around when he was operating basketball leagues for South Philadelphia youths.

"They're making a mockery of the courtroom," Pickard said. "This is ridiculous."

Contact Joseph A. Slobodzian at 215-854-2985,, or @joeslobo on Twitter.

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