Philly man gets 20-to-40 years in prison for slaying and shooting at cops

Posted: May 18, 2014

RAHMIK BECKETT humbly apologized yesterday for fatally shooting a man whom he believed was going to kill him, and for shooting at two Philadelphia police officers who happened upon the slaying.

"It haunts me every time I close my eyes," said Beckett, 25, a former airport baggage handler.

A jury in February convicted him of voluntary manslaughter, assault on a police officer and three handgun offenses.

Yesterday, Common Pleas Judge Rose Marie DeFino-Nastasi sentenced him to 20 to 40 years in state prison.

Beckett, bespectacled and burly, testified during his trial that he feared Kevin Jones, 24, and believed Jones had killed one of his friends and was going to kill him.

So, when the men crossed paths the evening of Sept. 28, 2011, at 32nd and Tasker streets during a rec-league basketball game, Beckett pulled a handgun and shot Jones 10 times. While attempting to flee, he also fired two shots in the direction of the officers.

The jury acquitted the father of two of attempting to murder the officers and of assaulting one of them, according to court records.

DeFino-Nastasi told Beckett that his fear of Jones did not explain why he shot at the officers during a crowded community event.

"So, this wasn't just something between you and this victim. This was between you, the victim and this entire neighborhood," DeFino-Nastasi said.

"You created a grave risk of danger to a lot of people," she added.

"The officers were only two or three car lengths away from him," Assistant District Attorney Brendan O'Malley said. "He discharged every bullet in his gun. He emptied his gun."

Jones did not have a gun, the prosecutor said.

But defense lawyer Lawrence Krasner said Jones not only killed Beckett's friend, but he had been threatening him in person and on social media leading up to the slaying.

"The decedent was talking about how many people he was going to kill this year. There was very specific information having to do with the defendant's mental state," said Krasner, who added that an appeal may be filed.

Jones was never charged in any homicide.

On Twitter: @MensahDean

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