Brother of man accused of killing a father in front of kids sentenced

The brother of a man who is accused of killing Robert Caldwell in front of Caldwell’s children was sentenced to more than two years in prison Tuesday.

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Chance Deakin was sentenced in federal court by U.S. District Judge Thomas Rose to 26 months in prison. He will have to serve three years probation after he gets out and pay a $100 fine. Deakin received nine months of credit for time served.

Deakin is the brother of Sterling Roberts, the man prosecutors say in August 2017 shot and killed Caldwell in front of three of his kids. Deakin was charged with aiding and abetting a felon in possession of a firearm, Rose said during the sentencing hearing Tuesday. Deakin previously pleaded guilty.

Prosecutors allege that on Aug. 15, 2017, Sterling Roberts used a firearm he illegally possessed and traveled across state lines to stalk and murder Caldwell. Authorities say the shooting took place in a Riverside parking lot. Roberts’ girlfriend Tawnney Caldwell, Deakin, Roberts’ other brother Christopher Roberts and Tawnney Caldwell’s mother Chandra Harmon and stepfather James Harmon are also charged in connection to the incident.

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Prosecutors said during the sentencing that Deakin gave the gun used to kill Caldwell to Roberts just hours before the shooting. U.S. Prosecutor Amy Smith said that Deakin provided the gun to Roberts knowing that Roberts was a felon and dangerous.

“Though he didn’t participate directly, his actions contributed to the death of (Robert Caldwell),” Smith said.

Deakin’s attorney, Steven Justice, said in court that his client didn’t want to provide his brother the gun. Instead, he first tried to not hand over the weapon, but was intimidated by his brother and the rest of the family.

“Sterling Roberts and others came to the house where Mr. Deakin was living and Roberts demanded he provided the handgun,” Justice said. “(Deakin originally) took it away to keep it away from family, children and Mr. Roberts.”

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Justice said in court that Caldwell and Roberts had a long history together and feuded in the past without fatal consequences and that his client never thought Roberts would kill Caldwell.

“No one was going to believe that Sterling Roberts was going to kill Mr. Caldwell,” Justice said. “Mr. Deakin didn’t believe that.”

The defense also said that Deakin is a “docile” person who has had an addiction to drugs for a large portion of his life. Justice also said Deakin suffers from medical ailments that need attention. He requested the judge sentence Deakin to time served.

Rose said during the sentencing that he appreciated Deakin’s defense but that he felt poor decisions led to him being in this situation.

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“What is it that I need to impose upon you that adequately deters you from making bad decisions? What do I need to do protect the public from you? I don’t know if you would do it again if you were feeling pressured or whatever,” Rose said. “I couldn’t tell anyone that I am sure you won’t re-offend or that the public was protected.”

Rose said he was going to recommend that Deakin is put in a prison that has medical capabilities to address his issues.

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