Why a teen who killed a classmate only served 7 months in jail

Posted at 11:54 PM, Jul 25, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-26 14:47:26-04

HANOVER, Va. (WTVR) - The mother of a Hanover teenager shot and killed last December is upset that her son's killer is out of jail, less than one year after the shooting.

Franklin Eugene Robertson III was sentenced to 10 years behind bars for the shooting death of Jyreffe Clark. But Wednesday a judge suspended the entire sentence. Robertson spent seven months in jail.

“Where`s the respect?" asked Jyreffe's mother Patricia Sands. "He left my son out there overnight, all day. He was meat for road kill.”

In May Robertson pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter for accidentally shooting Clarke while the teens made a music video at Robertson’s home. Robertson and two other teens then dragged Clark’s body across the street and cleaned up the mess inside the home. His body was found the next day.

“As long as you say it`s an accident. It`s okay,” Sands said regarding the judge's decision to let the teen out of jail.

Hanover Commonwealth’s Attorney Trip Chalkley doesn’t like the sentence either. He blamed Virginia law for the suspended sentence. He said because Roberston pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and had no priors, sentencing guidelines allowed the sentence to be suspended.

“Six months is not a lengthy amount of time when you consider a family will go the rest of their lives missing their child, missing their loved one. It just doesn`t seem adequate”, he said.

The two other teens who admitted to carrying Clark's body from the home where he was shot and dumping it in a nearby field, were charged with being an “accessory after the fact.”

One of those teens was sentenced to 12 months in juvenile detention with six months suspended and credit for three months served. The other was released for time served after pleading no contest.