BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (WLOX) - A Gulfport man was sentenced to 40 years in prison for his involvement in fatally shooting a man in the head in 2018.
On Friday, 21-year-old Xavier Lamar Simmons pled guilty to manslaughter and armed robbery for the death of D’Ante Washington. He was sentenced to 40 years, with 20 years to serve in prison.
During the plea hearing, D’Ante’s mother, Twanna Washington said not only was D’Ante robbed from enjoying his son and life, but in fact she was robbed as well.
“You also robbed me of the opportunity to continually enjoy my son,” said Twanna. “I have to go to a cold grave to tell my son how much I love him. You took a part of me that I will never get back and that has permanently altered my life.”
The shooting happened on June 6, 2018 at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park on Washington Street. Simmons was one of two men accused of shooting D’Ante in the head. The other suspect Armon Joseph Crawford turned himself in to authorities in 2018. He was charged with one count of armed robbery, murder, and aggravated assault for indifference to human life.
However, authorities were still on the hunt for Simmons.
In September 2018, Simmons was arrested by U.S. Marshals in Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana. He was wanted for murder, armed robbery, and aggravated assault.
According to ADA Chris Daniels, Witnesses described a gold sedan leaving the area and a t-shirt being thrown out of the window, that later was tested and matched Simmons’ DNA. Also, detectives were able to identify the owner of the gold sedan and determined that it was used by Simmons at the time of the shooting.
Prior to sentencing, Simmons said “I want to apologize. I feel the pain. I lost my brother too. It wasn’t supposed to happen that way. I can’t bring him back. I apologize.”