East Point MARTA shooting victim's mother blasts judge's sentence

The mother of a Jonesboro chess champ shot dead over his cell phone had to be led from the courtroom Monday after hearing her son's killer would be eligible for parole in 35 years.

Broderick Angelo Smith, charged with murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and weapons violations, was sentenced to life in prison plus 10 years after acknowledging his role in the March 2010 shooting at the East Point MARTA station. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Wendy L. Shoob, noting that Smith admitted guilt and did not have a lengthy criminal history, said the circumstances did not warrant life without parole.

The ruling brought a shriek of disapproval from the victim's mother, Michelle Nichols.

"I'll never see my son again," she said as she exited the hearing.

Anthony Beavers, 19, was on his way home when Smith, then 20, snatched his cell phone on a loading platform near the south end of the station. The Westwood College student refused to relinquish the phone, and, after a brief struggle, was shot three times, once in the head.

Beavers, a criminal law major who aspired to be a cop, was found lying face down by the responding officer, according to police reports. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

Nichols told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution she was shocked by the judge's ruling.

"She gave someone a life that took away my son's life," Nichols said. "My son was the one who fell through the cracks of justice. Unfortunately, our judicial system seems to care more about the criminals than the innocent."

Nichols filed a civil lawsuit against MARTA in March on behalf of her son, stating that the East Point station was not adequately patrolled despite previous criminal activity. She seeks to be reimbursed for the cost of Beavers’ funeral and paid for the pain and suffering due to his death.

Smith was already on probation for crimes including theft by receiving a stolen car, criminal damage to property and obstruction when he was arrested and charged with shooting Beavers.

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