David Yarde, 23, who was convicted of second-degree murder and unlawful possession of a firearm on Aug. 6, 2014, was sentenced Friday to a mandatory term of life in prison for the death of 22-year-old DeAndre Russ in October 2012.
During his sentencing hearing, Russ’ family members took the stand to relay fond memories of Russ and express forgiveness for his killer.
His cousin, a Boston resident, lamented gun violence in the city.
“I wish you two had just fought. Now everybody runs to guns,” she said. “All these young men are dying … there’s so much violence in Boston.”
In the end, however, Russ’ memory influenced her decision to forgive.
“DeAndre wouldn’t want me to be mad,” she said.
The victim’s mother, who prepared a letter, said she’s also forgiven Yarde.
“He will never be forgotten,” she wrote. “I’m glad that I got justice for him … DeAndre didn’t deserve that, but David, I forgive you.”
At the time of Russ’ murder, Yarde was out on $5,000 bail for a November 2010 gun arrest. He will serve two-and-a-half years on a firearms conviction before beginning his life term.
A press release from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office below.
Aug. 22, 2014
Slain Man’s Kin Forgive Killer, Decry “So Much Violence in Boston”
(BOSTON) — DeAndre Russ was murdered at age 22, but his family today expressed forgiveness for the man who killed him, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
Their words came at a sentencing hearing this afternoon for DAVID YARDE (D.O.B. 9/16/90) of Dorchester, convicted Aug. 6 of second-degree murder and unlawful possession of a firearm for shooting Russ dead outside a 2012 party on Tremont Street.
The mandatory sentence for murder two is life in prison with the possibility of parole after a period of 15 to 25 years at the sentencing judge’s discretion. Prosecutors recommended that he serve a life term with at least 20 years on the murder conviction, followed by four to five years on the gun conviction, noting that he was free on bail in an earlier gun case at the time he killed Russ.
Suffolk Superior Court Judge Mitchell Kaplan imposed a life term with parole eligibility after 15 years on the murder, with a concurrent term of three years on the gun.
Prior to sentencing, the court heard from Russ’ cousin, who took the stand to offer an impact statement.
“I’ve waited two whole years to see who this man was,” she said of the defendant. “I wish you two had just fought. Now everybody runs to guns. All these young men are dying … there’s so much violence in Boston. But I forgive him. DeAndre wouldn’t want me to be mad.”
The court also read a letter written by Russ’ mother.
“I remember the last time I saw him,” she wrote. “He gave me a kiss on my cheek. He had a heart of gold. I remember when he was a little boy. He was so attentive to me. When I came home from work he would ask if I wanted my slippers. He will never be forgotten. I’m glad that I got justice for him. DeAndre didn’t deserve that, but Daniel, I forgive you.”
At trial, Assistant District Attorney Julie Higgins of the DA’s Homicide Unit and Assistant District Attorney Zachary Hillman of the DA’s Appellate Division presented evidence and testimony to prove that in the early morning hours of Oct. 28, 2012, Yarde arrived at an after-hours party at 1050 Tremont St. where Russ was staying at that time. The two exchanged words at the party and, within an hour of Yarde’s arrival, surveillance images captured both men exiting the building.
The confrontation continued on Tremont Street where, the evidence showed, Yarde pulled out a 9mm semiautomatic handgun and fired six shots, striking Russ once in the forehead, as well as in the calf and thigh. Surveillance images then showed Yarde running from the scene with a firearm in his hand after the shooting, Higgins proved.
The gunfire activated the city’s ShotSpotter system and prompted an immediate response from Boston Police, who arrived to find Russ collapsed on the ground. He was transported to Boston Medical Center, where he died of his injuries.
At the time of Russ’ murder, Yarde was free on $5,000 bail for a November 2010 gun arrest by MBTA Transit Police at Ashmont station. Prosecutors had recommended that he be held on $15,000. He was convicted of that offense last year and sentenced to two and a half years in a house of correction, after which he will begin his life term.
Jennifer Sears was the DA’s assigned victim-witness advocate. Yarde was represented by attorney Liam Scully.