by Jennifer Emily (Dallas Morning News)
November 5, 2009
A Denton County judge sentenced a gang member who said he was on PCP when he killed a woman at a Far North Dallas smoke shop to life in prison without parole.
Arsenio Desmond Petty stood before State District Judge Carmen Rivera-Worley today in an orange jail uniform with his hands and feet shackled. A jury found him guilty of capital murder around 7:15 p.m. Wednesday. The verdict carries an automatic sentence.
Petty, 21, said "No, ma'am" when the judge asked if he had anything to say.
Petty shot and killed Rabeca Rae Kemp, 18, on Dec. 30 when he and two other men tried to rob the Gas Pipe in the 18600 block of Marsh Lane.
Kemp's family, who attended this week's trial, did not attend the sentencing.
But attorneys involved in the case said that after the verdict, Kemp and Petty's families embraced in the hallway outside the courtroom. First the mothers hugged as they sobbed and then other relatives did the same.
Lead prosecutor Ryan Calvert remarked later that the jury's verdict brought "as much justice as you can have in a case like this."
He said that both Kemp and Petty lost their lives.
Calvert said that it's still unclear why the robbery turned deadly.
"Once the robbery started," he said, "for reasons we'll never know, he opened fire."
Defense attorney Derek Adame said he had hoped the jury would find Petty guilty of murder instead of capital murder. Murder would have carried a sentence of anywhere from 5 years in prison to life.
Adame said Petty is sorry for his actions.
"He feels a lot of remorse for what he did and feels bad that he's got a tough sentence ahead of him," Adame said.
Petty has two prior misdemeanor convictions for assault and marijuana posession, Calvert said.
Maurice Antione Hall, 24, of Allen is facing a capital murder charge in the case.