BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – A former University of Alabama at Birmingham football player was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday for the death of a nursing student who was shot during an online sale that went wrong.
Carlos Stephens, 24, was sentenced in April of the capital murder in the shooting death of Destiny Washington in 2020, 20 years old.
The shooting happened on the UAB campus during the sale of $90 AirPods. Stephens claimed he fired in self-defense after Washington’s boyfriend pulled out a gun first.
Jefferson County Circuit Judge Kechia Davis says the case is ‘tragic on so many levels’, al.com reported.
“It’s so sad for me because two young lives were taken in Jefferson County. Two young black people live, and I feel like they were both on the path to success – Destiny Washington and Mr. Stephens,” she said.
The shooting happened during the sale of a pair of AirPods that Washington’s boyfriend was selling to Stephens’ girlfriend. The transaction went wrong amid accusations of counterfeit money and fake product and ended with a fatal shot being fired by Stephens.
Stephens turned himself in to police two days after the shooting. His lawyers claimed their client fired in self-defense only after Washington’s boyfriend pulled out a gun and threatened to “detonate” him.
Washington’s parents, Randy and Tora Washington, appeared in court on Wednesday and issued an emotional impact statement, addressing Stephens at one point.
“Fate had no choice on December 17, 2020. The choice you made that night to fire a weapon at his vehicle has consequences,” Tora Washington said. “It may not be a consequence you think is fair, but your parents will get to hear your voice, see your face and hug you. I will never be able to do these things again with Destiny on this earth.
Tora Washington said her daughter is scheduled to graduate from Lawson State in May 2021. She is in a dual enrollment program at UAB and is looking forward to furthering her education at UAB.
“She knew early on that she wanted to help people,” she said. “For Career Day at age 6 – she dressed the part. She wanted to be a nurse. She was a people person and didn’t hesitate to help anyone.
After sentencing, more than a dozen members of Stephens’ family were allowed to hug and speak to him briefly one by one.