JACKSON, Mich. (CAP) - Family and friends of Ian Shawns sat in silence as Judge Darryl Mazur read the 22-year-old's sentence for killing a gas station attendant in June of 2004. No jail term, no probation, just an interview with CNN's Nancy Grace. The courtroom erupted.
"Oh, my Ian! My baby!" cried mother Edith Shawns as family members tried to console her after the sentence was read. "He needs direction, not death!"
The sentence came as a shock to everyone, including the prosecution, who had asked for Shawns to be sent to prison for 20 years. Many following the highly publicized case expressed concern that Mazur's decision was politically motivated in a state that does not support capital punishment.
"Judge Mazur seems to have found a loophole that allows him to sentence a man to death," said Ave Maria School of Law professor Tom Patrick. "But convicts on death row get numerous appeals. Shawns' interview with Nancy Grace will air long before his appeals are heard. He's a dead man talking."
On June 3, 2004, Ian Shawns walked into the Springport C-Store in Springport, Mich. and demanded money from the attendant. When Hector Sanchez apparently couldn't provide enough money, Shawns shot the illegal immigrant twice in the chest. Shawns' attorney maintains he acted in self-defense.
"Who perpetrated the real crime here?" said defense attorney Dwayne Pope on the steps of the courthouse. "The man who came here illegally and stole a job from an American, or the man who had to resort to crime because an illegal took a job away from him? We will fight this one."
CAP News' calls to Nancy Grace were not returned. However, one of her staffers assured us the newswoman was "chomping at the bit" to be able to sit down with Shawns.
- CAP News Staff