Waco man pleads guilty in 2021 killing of teenager playing basketball
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A Waco man was sentenced to 35 years in prison Monday after he pleaded guilty in the March 2021 shooting death of a teenager who was playing basketball.
Prince Charles Easley, 23, who was arrested under the name Warren Prince Tyler, pleaded guilty to murder in the death of 19-year-old Jajuan Anderson-Simmons, who was shot while playing basketball about 7:45 p.m. at Council Acres Park at South 12th Street and Bagby Avenue.
Easley was arrested two months after Anderson-Simmons’ death driving a vehicle stolen from Limestone County. He was involved in a crash on Interstate 35 near Troy and fled the scene, which launched a manhunt by multiple police agencies.
Easley was arrested about two hours later near Blevins Road in Falls County.
After Easley was sentenced Monday, a woman read a victim-impact statement from Anderson-Simmons’ mother in which she told Easley that Anderson-Simmons’ three sons now are left to grow up without a father and their mother is struggling to raise them by herself.
She said that losing a child is “unimaginable,” especially one so young with his whole life ahead of him. She ended by saying she hoped God will allow her to forgive him.
Easley’s attorney, Melanie Walker, said prosecutors took into consideration that Easley was the victim of horrific child abuse at the hands of his mother when making their plea offer.
“I hope the plea in this case brings Mr. Anderson-Simmons’ family some sense of peace and closure,” Walker said. “Nothing can bring him back, but I hope this helps them move forward. Mr. Easley is grateful to be able to move on as well.”
Easley’s mother, Tita Yvette Easley, was sentenced to life in prison in 2013 after a McLennan County jury found her guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Tita Easley was convicted of trying to drown Prince Charles Easley, striking him, pushing him to the ground and applying downward pressure on him, according to court documents.
The charges against Easley were enhanced because he has a prior felony conviction for possession of a prohibited weapon. The enhancement bumped the minimum sentence Easley faced from five to 15 years. He faced a maximum life prison term.
Prosecutor Kristi DeCluitt said she hopes the defendant’s guilty plea will bring comfort to the victim’s family.
“It’s always a tragedy when a life is taken and although nothing can take away the heartbreak of Mr. Anderson-Simmons’ family, I hope that the defendant’s plea of guilt and waiver of appeal today will give them some comfort and closure,” DeCluitt said.
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