16-year-old who fired gunshots at man sentenced to time in custody

October 2, 2018

A 16-year-old Sun Prairie boy pleaded guilty Tuesday to an adult reckless endangerment charge and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Keyonte M. Barksdale, will serve his sentence in a juvenile correctional institution, likely at Lincoln Hills School in northern Wisconsin.

Barksdale was originally charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide, but that charge was dismissed under a plea agreement reached between Assistant District Attorney William Brown and Barksdale’s lawyer, Murali Jasti. He pleaded guilty to a charge of first-degree reckless endangerment.

Barksdale was arrested after a June 20 incident in a parking lot at the Hamilton Place Apartments, 102 Park Circle in Sun Prairie, in which Barksdale fired five shots at an 18-year-old man. Some of the bullets struck windows on apartment buildings, but the intended target was not injured.

“The good news is your bullets didn’t find a target,” said Circuit Judge William Hanrahan, who also told Barksdale, “You need to get your head screwed on straight.”

He said he hoped that programming and school at Lincoln Hills would help him figure out that guns were not a path to the future and would only let down his parents, who sat behind Barksdale in court.

“I don’t understand how people can be so casual with their own lives, let alone others’,” Brown said, lamenting the uptick in gun violence among young people in the Madison area.

A boy who was with Barksdale that day, Javon Davis, 17, pleaded guilty on Monday to making terrorist threats, along with misdemeanor charges of possession of a firearm by an underage person and pointing a firearm at a person. In Wisconsin, 17-year-olds are charged with crimes as adults.

Hanrahan sentenced Davis to four years of probation as agreed to by Brown and Davis’ lawyer, Reed Cornia, but structured the sentence so that he would immediately begin serving a prison sentence if his probation is revoked.

He also ordered Davis to spend three months in the Dane County Jail as a condition of his probation.

“As bad as it seems now, you’re lucky we’re not here on a homicide charge,” Hanrahan told Davis, adding that Davis “clearly wasn’t thinking” when he and Barksdale made their armed threats. “There’s a whole lot of non-thinking going on.”

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