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State Street apartment shooting brings 10-year prison sentence

January 5, 2019
Derrick Paige, right, appears in court at his plea hearing in October with his lawyer, Davis Karpe.

Derrick Paige, who shot a man twice in a State Street apartment building because he felt threatened by the man, was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison after a judge said he was an increasing threat to public safety.

Paige, 28, of Madison, who is currently serving a prison sentence for a separate crime, told Dane County Circuit Judge William Hanrahan that he accepts responsibility for shooting Quentrell Williams, 36, in the chin and arm on May 23 at an apartment building at 556 State St., above Whiskey Jack’s bar, where both lived.

“I know what I did,” Paige said. “I’m responsible for it.”

Questioned by Hanrahan, Paige said that despite being a felon and ineligible to own a gun, he got a gun from a friend because he felt threatened by others who lived in the building.

A criminal complaint states that the dispute started over an accusation that Paige was dumping human waste from his apartment window. The day of the shooting, Paige told police, he saw Williams and another resident talking, and Williams was saying he was going to have to shoot or kill Paige.

Paige told police that’s when he shot Williams, the complaint states.

Paige pleaded guilty in October to first-degree reckless injury, and a charge of firearms possession by a felon was dismissed. His 10-year prison sentence will be followed by four years of extended supervision.

Hanrahan told Paige that getting the gun in the first place was a bad decision, that this is not the “Wild West.”

“This is not how in a civilized society we settle disputes,” Hanrahan said.

Had Paige’s aim been slightly different, Hanrahan said, Williams could have died from the shot to his face alone. The fact that Williams didn’t die saved Paige from spending the rest of his life in prison, he said.

“Should you be rewarded for not shooting straight? The Legislature says yes,” Hanrahan said.

In a letter to Hanrahan last month, Paige said he didn’t intend to kill anyone and said he shot Williams because “I just wanted the bullying to stop. I know it wasn’t the right decision to make and that’s why I pled guilty.”

Assistant District Attorney William Brown, giving Paige some credit for quickly admitting wrongdoing and pleading guilty to the reckless injury charge, asked for a six-year prison sentence followed by four years of extended supervision, which was recommended in a state Department of Corrections pre-sentence report.

David Karpe, Paige’s lawyer, asked for five years in prison, with three years of supervision.

But Hanrahan said that prior attempts by the criminal justice system to put Paige on the right path “haven’t mattered,” including a three-year term of probation that Hanrahan gave Paige in 2016 for eluding police, an incident in which Paige nearly struck police officers with his car as he tried to get away from them.

Paige is serving a two-year probation revocation sentence for that conviction, and his new prison sentence will begin after that is finished. In addition, Hanrahan sentenced Paige to six months in jail for an unrelated second-offense drunken driving conviction.

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