Prison for three who ambushed pizza deliveryman

Posted: February 08, 2014

Shanna Anderson would later tell prosecutors she warned her husband to be careful. The background noise of children laughing made her "feel something was going on" with the late-night pizza order in Southwest Philadelphia.

Ronald Anderson Jr., 29, never returned to Hot Spot Pizza, where he and his wife worked. When he arrived in the 2500 block of Massey Street on Jan. 3, 2012, Anderson found a vacant house.

Within seconds, he was rushed, shot three times, and left dead. Four assailants fled with the pizza.

On Thursday, three accomplices of the gunman who killed Anderson were sentenced to prison terms of up to 15 years.

Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner said Anderson's murder was an example of the unexpected consequences of "low-impact crime."

"This is as bad as it can be," the judge said.

Those sentenced were:

Xylaca Devlin, 20, of Southwest Philadelphia, who got five to 12 years after pleading guilty to third-degree murder, robbery, and conspiracy.

Devlin, who called in the pizza order on her cellphone and left the phone behind, was given credit for cooperating with prosecutors three days after Anderson's slaying.

"After she cooperated, they all fell like dominoes," said defense attorney Daniel Stevenson.

Rashad Cheeseboro, 25, of Southwest Philadelphia, who was sentenced to seven to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to third-degree murder, robbery, and conspiracy.

Cheeseboro, who acted as the gunman's lookout, got a longer term because of a criminal record - for marijuana possession - and because he reneged on a promise to cooperate and tried to withdraw his guilty plea.

Defense attorney Leon Goodman told Lerner that Cheeseboro had a learning disability and "didn't believe it would end in the circumstances that it did."

Keyona Jones, 20, of Magnolia, Camden County, who was sentenced to four years after pleading guilty to robbery and conspiracy.

Lerner called Jones the "least culpable" because she did not know the gunman, Michael Covington, 22, was armed and because she tried to stop the crime before it began.

Covington pleaded guilty to third-degree murder before trial in October and is serving 35 to 70 years in prison.

Defense attorney Coley Reynolds cited Jones' deprived childhood - she was abandoned by both parents and released from foster care into independent living at age 18.

"She was, unfortunately, raised on the street," Reynolds said.

All three apologized to Anderson's family - Devlin and Jones in tears.

"I just pray that you'll find it in your hearts to forgive me," said Devlin.

"I promise you'll never see me here again," Jones told Lerner. "I just want to change my life."

Assistant District Attorney Brian Zarallo had asked for much longer prison terms for all three and said he would ask Lerner to consider a longer prison term for Cheeseboro.

Zarallo said the three "made a horrendously bad, violent decision and they decided to make it because they were hungry."

Anderson's mother and the mother of his 10-year-old daughter wept as they described their loss. Anderson also had a daughter and three stepchildren with wife Shanna.

"People say time heals all wounds, and that's not true," Gladys Anderson said of her only child's death. "Time only gives you the ability to cope."


jslobodzian@phillynews.com

215-854-2985 @joeslobo

www.inquirer.com/crimeandpunishment

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