RACINE - A man who admitted being behind the wheel during a fatal drive-by shooting three years ago was ordered to serve 13 1/2 years in prison.
Dartavis Shelton, 26, was sentenced in Racine County Circuit Court last month for his role in the April 22, 2007, shooting death of 12-year-old Marize Jones. He is one of five charged with killing the boy. Shelton was the first person charged with the crime and the first to enter a plea.
In July 2008, Shelton pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of discharging a firearm from a vehicle. He had originally been charged with first-degree intentional homicide, three counts of attempted homicide and discharging a firearm from a vehicle.
Shelton's sentencing was repeatedly delayed as cases against his four co-defendants moved through the court system. In order for it to stand, he must continue to cooperate with the district attorney's office and law enforcement in the ongoing cases against his co-defendants.
"We made it very clear that ... this deal was premised upon his cooperation with police and his anticipated cooperation with co-defendants who will not plead," said Assistant District Attorney Robert Repischak. "He realizes that if he does not cooperate, does not live up, we will exercise our option to reopen the sentencing and reissue the dismissed cases."
The sentence Shelton received - 13 1/2 years in prison and five years on extended supervision - was the maximum possible sentence, Repischak said.
Shelton and his co-defendants are accused of driving around the near north side of Racine looking to shoot members of a rival gang, Repischak said. It came shortly after Carl Munger was shot on Racine's south side.
"They were hunting specifically for a Vice Lord," Repischak said. "They just wanted to shoot a Vice Lord. They believed that neighborhood was occupied by people, Vice Lord gang members, and they thought that was their best chance to shoot a Vice Lord."
Repischak said information Shelton gave police led to the arrest of the other co-defendants.
"Without him it would have been probably more difficult to charge all the other individuals," he said. "He was the ultimate inside guy. He was the man in the car driving. He knew who was in the car."
Shelton has about 10 1/2 years left to serve on the sentence, as the judge ordered it to be served at the same time as a sentence for which he is already in prison.