SENTENCING: Deven Brooks’ mom says son had no clue ‘monsters’ like Jamaria Randle existed

Jamaria Randle, 23 of Pineville, was sentenced to life in prison on Monday without the possibility of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.
Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 11:46 AM CDT
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RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB) - Jamaria Randle, 23 of Pineville, who was convicted of second degree murder on Feb. 17, 2023 of the Jan. 9, 2022 kidnapping and deadly shooting of Deven Brooks, 27 of Ball, was sentenced to life in prison on Monday without the possibility of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.

Brooks was robbed and kidnapped from his Timber Trails apartment in Ball, shot in the head and dumped on the levee in Alexandria. His body was found bound with cables, zip ties and Gorilla tape two days later. Three people were charged in connection to his murder - Randle, who once dated him, her husband, Terrance Lavalais, and her cousin, Tremaine Veal. Lavalais, who pulled the trigger, pleaded “guilty” to second degree murder on Feb. 1, 2023. Veal’s trial is set for Aug. 21, 2023. Prosecutors alleged that Randle orchestrated the attack on Brooks because she knew he had money.

Before the sentence was handed down by Judge Patricia Koch in front of a packed courtroom, three of Brooks’ family members gave victim impact statements.

“Our family has been completely destroyed by your evil,” Brooks’ mother, Candace Blood, told Randle during her statement. “You have sentenced us to a life of grief and pain.”

Blood talked about her son’s kindness to strangers. As we learned during Randle’s trial, Brooks had been helping her out financially and even bought her a car. After Brooks was robbed - and before and after he was killed - the trio hit the ATM and spent his money, even going to the Paragon at one point the following day.

“He had no idea that monsters like you existed in this world and I didn’t either,” she said. “All he tried to do was help you and you murdered him for his kindness.”

Blood talked about her son’s dreams and goals. She said he had a future and a family who loved him.

“I miss him terribly,” she told the court through tears. Randle put her head down and had no reaction.

“I hope you suffer every day,” Blood told Randle. “Life in prison seems unjust for what you did to my son.”

Blood told the court that if it were not for Randle setting up the plot, her son would still be alive.

“You painted yourself as a victim. You are a master manipulator. No one around you is safe,” she said.

Blood talked about the struggle to “survive” each day. She explained the pain she feels traveling to work, crossing over the Red River twice a day knowing that her son’s body was found below.

“But, I am Deven’s voice,” Blood said. “May you never be alive to destroy another family like you’ve destroyed mine. You deserve to live in the same hell you bestowed upon my son.”

Barbara Wright, one of Brooks’ grandmothers, spoke next.

“How do you even begin to do an impact statement? How do you explain what brutality you put my family through?” she asked of Randle.

Wright said Brooks was “the very best part of me.” She spoke about how he was raised to respect others and to have a “kind and generous heart.”

“You took him from me in a deliberate, vicious act of greed,” said Wright. “You certainly did not love Deven. That was a lie.”

Wright said the hardest part is watching her family suffer alongside her.

Rita Blood, Brooks’ other grandmother, reminisced about better, happier times. She said Brooks was humble and funny.

“He had such a sense of humor,” she said. “So dry and funny.”

“His name will be associated with helping people,” she told Randle. “You will waste away with a prison sentence and Deven will be making a difference.”

Randle was given the opportunity to address the courtroom, which included her own family who cried through the earlier proceedings. Her defense attorney, Chad Guillot, said she intended to speak.

“All my actions, I’m sorry about everything that happened,” Randle said. “I didn’t kill Deven, but I’m sorry for what I did do.”

Randle said she realized she also “messed up” her own family.

“I am here to take whatever sentence. I hope one day you can find it in your heart to forgive all,” she said. “I am a Christian and I believe in the Lord. The only sentence is whatever God gives where I’m going. [...] I can tell everyone I’m sorry and I wish I could show y’all. I don’t know what to do. It’s nothing I can do. Go to prison. I don’t know what y’all want me to do?”

Brooks’ family and supporters began to get restless as Randle spoke. Some of them were angered by her words.

“I don’t know what I can give you to make you sleep better or live better,” she said. “I don’t know.”

As Randle sat down to await her sentence, her mother stood up.

“I just need to say something, please,” she said as she was motioned to the front of the courtroom.

That drew an objection from Assistant District Attorneys Lea Hall and Brian Cespiva. District Attorney Phillip Terrell walked to the front.

“This is about victim impact,” Hall told Judge Koch. “It is highly inappropriate and denigrates these proceedings. This is not defendant impact. I’m asking you to stop. This is the victim’s day.”

Judge Koch allowed the woman to speak. As she started, Brooks’ family and supporters got up and walked out.

“I’m going to end it,” said Judge Koch of Randle’s mother’s statement.

“It’s okay,” said another one of Randle’s family members from the courtroom benches. “God knows.”

Randle covered her face with her shirt.

The district attorney’s office staff went to the hallway to get Brooks’ family to come back inside. Then the sentencing proceeded.

“This is not closure for the family,” said Judge Koch. “Ms. Randle, the family used appropriate terms - callousness, soullessness. You took advantage. [...] For this a life sentence is required and is very much appropriate.”

As the sentencing concluded, two other unbilled docket numbers in other cases Randle faces were dismissed by the district attorney’s office as Randle now has a life sentence.

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