RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Nearly a week after the one-year anniversary of a "tiny hero's" death, Marty Cobb's killer has been put away for 30 years. The teen suspect, Mairese Washington, accepted an Alford plea in court on Wednesday. Washington was sentenced to 40 years in prison, with 10 suspended, under the plea agreement. A deal was reached last week, after Washington had backed out of an agreement made back in November.
A grand jury indicted Mairese Washington on charges of second-degree murder in the death of 8-year-old Marty Cobb, as well as on malicious wounding and strangulation charges in the alleged attack on Marty's sister, according to court records. The malicious wounding and strangulation charges were nolle prossed, or essentially dropped.
Cobb's oldest sister Starquay Spruill says she's relieved for some form of justice. Cobb was killed near his own backyard, trying to protect his sister from an attack.
"All he knew was, protect his sisters, protect his sisters… And that's what he did. And May 1st, God called him home," said Spruill.
"[This was an] exceptionally good outcome for a long and difficult case," said Richmond City's Commonwealth's Attorney Mike Herring.
If the case went to trial, prosecutors say Marty's 12-year-old sister, would have testified. She's described as being traumatized and fearful, following the assault. However, attorneys say through counseling and building trust, the young girl grew confident enough testify on the stand, if need be.
"She would have faced down the defendant," said Mary Langer, another prosecutor in the case who worked closely with the victim.
Prosecutors say they also had enough forensic evidence to sway Washington to take the plea deal. They say DNA evidence revealed Cobb's blood on Washington's jersey. Attorneys also say surveillance video from a neighbor's house shows Washington interacting with Cobb and his sister. They then disappeared, heading in the direction of the train tracks. Later, the video shows Washington carrying Cobb's sister into the home, then fleeing in the opposite direction of where Cobb's body was found. Washington told Cobb's sister, "See what you made me do? Should have just give me a kiss. Now your brother is dead."
Still, the prosecution says a plea deal was a better route to go than going on trial.
"The probability of getting a life sentence for a juvenile is close to zero," said Herring.
As for Mairese Washington, Herring says he seemed to show little sympathy. "There was very little about his demeanor that suggested remorse, at and around the time of the incident."
Marty Cobb's family says they have some closure, even if Washington's sentence isn't what they believe he truly deserves.
"He don't deserve to be on this earth period. He deserves to be dead somewhere, not locked up, but dead," continued Spruill.
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