“He did not have a lot of upbringing because of the loss of his dad. It still does not make any excuse for what has happened, but all we have to do is have mercy,” she said. “We wanted to let him know that he does have a family who loves him in spite of this.”
She hoped DeLeon “could find it in her heart” to forgive her nephew, she said.
Land’s attorney, Lindsay Smith, similarly asked Nichols to consider Land’s trauma suffered throughout his childhood and adulthood as mitigating factors
“If we look at [Land’s past], is anybody surprised?,” Smith asked. “When we don’t take care of our children and the state doesn’t get involved or pay attention until something like this happens, how can we be surprised?
“This isn’t to say that he isn’t responsible … but context is important,” she added.
Prosecutor Ammon Barker pointed to Land’s history of previous convictions and the circumstances of the robbery, including an accomplice and the usage of a deadly weapon, as cause for a lengthier sentence.
“It wasn’t like he one day woke up and decided to rob a jewelry store. He has been doing this. It has been, or had been, his occupation,” Barker said.
Land’s co-defendant, DeQuint Blunt, is awaiting a trial to determine whether he is guilty of similar charges connected to the incident. His trial is scheduled to take place next week.