For shooting a man’s eye out and leaving him next to blind in the remaining eye back in March, 23-year-old Teion Lamon Brewer was sentenced to 50 years Tuesday in Charles County Circuit Court.
Brewer, a Waldorf resident, appeared Tuesday morning before Judge William Greer for sentencing in the attempted murder, to which he entered an Alford plea on Sept. 5. An Alford plea means that while the defendant acknowledges the strength of the evidence against them in the crime of which they’ve been accused, they do not directly admit guilt. That same day, Brewer also pleaded guilty to a lesser weapons offense and not guilty to all other counts, including armed robbery.
On March 23, Brewer shot 27-year-old Johrel Key in the face in the parking lot of Dollar General, located in the 11800 block of Montgomery Lane in Waldorf. With him was a 16-year-old male whose case has since been remanded to juvenile court. Assistant State’s Attorney Constance Kopelman said in her allocution that the crime, which she called “particularly egregious,” was anything but random. Brewer and his co-defendant lured Key there, Kopelman said, with the intent of robbing him. The Maryland Independent is withholding the co-defendant’s name due to his age.
Kopelman noted for the court that when Key met with Brewer and the other male that day, he was not alone in the vehicle and was accompanied by another adult and a very young child. They met “in broad daylight,” Kopelman said, and it’s only by chance that Key was not killed nor the woman or child injured.
Since the shooting, Kopelman said, Key “can’t function like he used to. He is essentially a blind man.” Because of Brewer’s actions, Kopelman said, Key is faced with “a lifetime of darkness” ahead. She detailed the myriad procedures he underwent to save his life both immediately following the incident and later in its aftermath. What little sight is in his remaining eye, she said, is mostly shadows: When speaking with him earlier in the hallway that morning, Kopelman said Key couldn’t see her right in front of him.
Key declined to speak for himself in court, but his mother made a statement on the family’s behalf. Since March 23, she said, she’s grappled with the realization of her worst nightmare as a mother.
While Johrel has made more progress in his healing than anyone could have ever expected, she said, he’s still very much grievously injured and his life permanently altered. There is “hurt and anger” in her son’s heart, she said, that wasn’t there before.
“I pray every day to wake up from that dream,” his mother said, saying to Brewer that there is obvious “hurt and evil in your broken heart.”
Bradley Warby, Brewer’s defense attorney, said much of his client’s short life had been marred by a “chaotic” childhood, with an incarcerated father and mother struggling with substance abuse. Brewer suffers from a mood disorder, Warby said, and at the time was not medicated for his condition as he couldn’t afford the expense. Thus, on the day of the shooting Brewer was “not in a good place at the time.”
Since coming to represent Brewer, Warby said, the young man has shown “nothing but remorse” for his actions and noted that he fully cooperated with the police investigation. Brewer, Warby said, “was kind of shocked by his own behavior.”
“[Brewer] acknowledges that it was his actions that put Mr. Key in this position,” Warby said. However, Warby contended — as he said they would have at trial had the matter proceeded — that the shooting itself was accidental.
Brewer’s grandmother addressed the court, saying she loved her grandson dearly but could not support what he’d done. This sort of incident, she said, is something she had feared would come from his turbulent youth.
“I do know that — and I hope I don’t sound cold-hearted here — there’s always consequences,” Brewer’s grandmother said. “God knows I’m hurt he would do something like that.”
Brewer agreed with his grandmother.
“You make bad decisions, you get bad consequences,” Brewer said. “I’m willing to deal with the consequences I’m about to get.”
“It doesn’t matter if the shooting was accidental,” Greer said in handing down Brewer’s sentence. “The entire episode was planned and staged for no reason. The actions showed not only disregard for the victim, but all located in the vehicle as well.”
Brewer received a concurrent 20-year sentence for the weapons charge, five of which will be served without possibility of parole. He will be on five years of supervised probation once released.