CEDAR RAPIDS — A 17-year-old, who was “lying in wait” to shoot a 14-year-old boy outside of a laundromat last year, was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison.
Assistant Linn County Attorney Rene Schulte said it’s not often the office tries to put a teen in prison, but in this case, Malachi Handley, 16 at the time of shooting, is a risk to the community, she said. The only reason she agreed to this lesser plea is because prison would be part of the agreement.
“This was an egregious act, which was caught on video to show this defendant was lying in wait for (the 14-year-old), who he opened fire on, shooting him in the back and leg,” Schulte said during the hearing. “The bullet still is in the victim’s leg, and he has pain daily. There was also another youth behind Marvin, who fortunately wasn’t harmed.”
Sixth Judicial District Judge Andrew Chappell agreed, saying this was a “violent and reckless” crime that could have been a homicide. He was going to go by the plea agreement but he told Handley this was his opportunity to change his behavior and whatever happens from here will be up to him.
Handley was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He pleaded guilty in June in Linn County District Court to willful injury causing serious injury, willful injury causing bodily injury, going armed with intent and carrying a concealed weapon. Handley faced up to 22 years in prison, but he will serve the sentences concurrently, in accordance with the plea agreement, for a total of 10 years.
Handley also was originally charged with attempted murder.
A criminal complaint shows Handley shot the 14-year-old when he came out of the Coin Clean laundromat, 220 16th St. NE, on March 11, 2017.
Several people were inside the laundromat at the time but no others were injured, according to the complaint.
Testimony during a previous hearing shows witnesses told police there was an ongoing conflict between the 14-year-old and Handley before the shooting.
Two other teens, both 15 at the time, were also charged in this shooting but those charges were handled in juvenile court.
Handley, during the hearing, said he “made a mistake” and was sorry for his actions. He told the judge he plans to take any opportunities in prison to better himself.
Schulte, during the hearing, pointed out that Handley acted with “malice.” One of Handley’s co-defendants said Handley told him he thought the 14-year-old was dead, showing little remorse.
At the time of this shooting, Handley was already on probation for carrying a weapon onto school grounds and theft of a vehicle, she added.
During a previous hearing, a judge detailed Handley’s juvenile convictions, starting in 2015 of assault with bodily injury and two more offenses in 2016. In one incident, he was fighting with others during a festival and became “combative” with police officers as they attempted to restrain him. One officer was injured by him.
In February 2017, Handley was at a Jefferson High School basketball game, waving a gun around in the parking lot as students and others were leaving, according to court documents.
Tom Viner, Handley’s lawyer, said he could already see a change in Handley during the last 16 months he had been in jail since his arrest. He hopes to come back in 345 days to show the court of Handley’s progress and ask for a reconsideration of sentencing.
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Chappell said he understood that was an agreement with the prosecution but it wouldn’t be part of his sentencing order.
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