Movie theater shooter sentenced to 40 years

deavon quendell jeffersonLa Plata, MD - Deavan Quindel Jefferson, 20, found guilty May 5 of second-degree murder and unlawful use of a firearm in commission of a crime of violence for the shooting death of 19-year-old Ruell Hicks behind the AMC movie theater at Mall Circle in Waldorf last October, will face 40 years in the Maryland Department of Corrections.

That sentence was handed down by Charles County Circuit Court Judge Erik Nice Monday, July 10.

Nyce gave Jefferson 30 years on the second-degree murder charge and 20 years for the unlawful use of a firearm in commission of a crime of violence with all but 10 years suspended. Sentences for counts three through five, including possession of a regulated firearm under 21; illegal possession of a firearm; and wear, carry and transport a handgun upon their person, were to run concurrent with the 40-year sentence.

It took the jury just over an hour to render their verdict back in May.

Jefferson was found not guilty of first-degree murder in the trial.

During closing arguments of the trial, Charles County Assistant States Attorney Constance Kopelman asserted that the murder was premeditated, that Jefferson lured the victim “into the shadows” with the intention of murdering him. Charles County Assistant Public Defender Matt Connell objected three different times that the prosecutor was repeating the same thing over and over.

“The reason I am repeating the same thing over and over to you is because it’s important,” she told the jury.

Testimony revealed that Jefferson shot Hicks in the head after a drug deal went south behind the movie theater and, the defendant claimed, the victim swung at him. That became evident during an interview played during the trial with Charles County Sheriff Office detectives John Long and John Elliott the night of the shooting, played during the trial and again at closing, in which he told them that although he and Hicks had an altercation in the past, “we were all right.” But he added, he said even though he had arranged to purchase marijuana from Hicks that he was wary. “I know they do that jack bulls---,” he told the investigators. “I know for a fact he has committed armed robbery more than once.”

“Did he say anything?” Elliott was heard asking.

“I didn’t even wait to hear what he had to say,” Jefferson said. “After he swung at me…”

“Where’d you shoot him?” Elliott asked.

“I shot him in his f------ head,” the defendant said, almost shouting.

Jefferson will also serve five years of unsupervised probation upon his release.

Contact Joseph Norris at

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