Extra security was called to a Pima County courtroom Friday for the sentencing of a Tucson man for shooting a 24-year-old man to death and injuring another in March 2011.
Friends and family members of murder victim Flint Smith made their displeasure with Terry Dixon’s plea agreement and sentence known – frequently with loud expletives – before Superior Court Judge Howard Fell sentenced Dixon to 8 1/2 years in prison.
On March 24, 2011, a 20-year-old man called 911 from a home near West Prince and North Flowing Wells roads and said he’d been shot.
When officers arrived, the man told police to go to a nearby home in the 3700 block of North Turtle Avenue. That’s where police found Smith and a 17-year-old boy with gunshot wounds. All three were taken to a hospital, and Smith died.
Dixon, 19, was charged with first-degree murder, but pleaded guilty last month to manslaughter and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
He was facing between three and 21 1/4 years in prison under the terms of the plea agreement.
Smith’s stepfather, Terrance Haider, expressed outrage that Dixon was offered a plea to a less-serious charge and that one of the other victim’s gunshot wound was described as non-life-threatening. Haider called the plea agreement “disrespectful,” noting that his son was killed and his nephew almost died.
Haider also strenuously objected to defense attorney Vincent Frey’s claims that Dixon shot Smith in self-defense.
In an interview after the hearing, Haider said his son, his nephew and Dixon were all in a hip-hop music group. They were also fans of the hip-hop group Insane Clown Posse, which has fans known as “juggalos.”
On the day of the slaying, Haider said, the members of the hip-hop group began arguing with Dixon because he’d been banned from a club where they were supposed to be playing that weekend. The fight turned physical and Dixon pulled a gun and shot the other young men, Haider said.
Smith was shot several times in the torso, Haider’s nephew was shot in the chest and the 17-year-old was shot in the foot, court documents state.
Dixon turned himself in to Los Angeles police about six weeks later.
On Friday, Frey said everyone involved lived the “juggalos type of life” and believed Dixon should have just submitted to the beating. It was only after Dixon was trapped against a wall and was repeatedly punched that he pulled the gun, Frey said.
Dixon made a “desperate decision” while intoxicated; he never intended for his friend to get shot and killed, Frey said.
Since his arrest, Dixon has had his juggalos tattoo covered up and he’s renounced the “crazy philosophies” of the juggalos, Frey said.
Fell sentenced Dixon to five years for the manslaughter and 3 1/2 years for the assault and ordered them to be served consecutively. He also ordered Dixon to pay $2,040 in restitution.
People on both sides of the case were separately escorted from the courthouse by Pima County deputies and corrections officers.
On StarNet: Follow the news and events at Pima County’s courthouses in Kim Smith’s blog, At the Courthouse, at azstarnet.com/courthouse
Contact reporter Kim Smith at 573-4241 or firstname.lastname@example.org