Victim’s family doesn’t forgive teen brothers for 2015 homicide

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Two teen brothers who pleaded guilty for a 2015 murder were both given 25-year sentences, but only 15 years will be served behind bars. The other ten years were suspended. This is part of the plea agreement after the both Shakidi Underwood, 19, and Kamari Underwood, 18, pleaded guilty back in June.

The brothers were awaiting trial for murder in connection with the shooting death of Melvin Palmer III back in July of 2015.  Both Shakidi and Kamari will also be on probation for three years after their sentence is fulfilled, with the first year being on home detention. The prosecution and victim’s wife agreed to the lesser sentence because how young both men are and the hope that they can be rehabilitated.

“This is a terrible tragedy, but we hope and pray that they get it right and they don’t waste the rest of their lives. They wasted their youth already,” prosecuting attorney Adam Mildred said.

Authorities had originally charged the two with murder for killing Palmer outside a home following some sort of altercation. A third teen was also involved in the crime. Vicxon Gray previously agreed to a plea deal that erased a murder charge and spared him jail time.

In court Friday Palmer’s sister and wife both spoke and said they don’t forgive the Underwoods because they are not showing remorse.

“I’ve been waiting for this day to come for a long time and I was hoping I’d see some remorse for taking my brother’s life. They’ve been looking at us and smiling the whole time. You have no soul,” Schwhan Palmer said. As she spoke her voice got louder and she spoke passionately, almost yelling.

“You didn’t need to kill him. You tried to rob him. Your forgiveness is out the window. You’re the devil to me,” she said.

Latoya Palmer, Palmer’s wife, also spoke, but had to take breaks because she became so emotional.

“He was kind. He was a loving man,” she said of her murdered husband as she addressed the Underwood brothers. “I prayed to forgive you, but I can’t forgive you for what you took from me and my kids. They miss him so much. They pay for the stupid decision you made.  What life will the kids have without their father? You robbed us of our life. I’ll never forgive you.”

Still, both women talked about hoping they will learn from their mistakes while they are in prison and will be able to make better choices when they get out.

When the judge asked Kamari if he’s like to say anything before he was sentenced he said:

“Uh, yeah. I want to say I’m sorry. I know how it feels to lose someone. My uncle got killed before and my whole family was upset. I know the whole situation is messed up. I know the kids growing up without their dad is messed up. I’m sorry,” Kamari said in a slow, but clear voice.

Shakidi’s attorney said his client does “display remorse” in the conversations the two of them have had. “There are no words he can say to compensate for the the loss, but I do think he is genuinely remorseful.

The judge also asked Shakidi if he’d like to say anything before he was sentenced and he just said, “No Ma’am.”

After the court proceedings were over, Palmer’s sister said the family was disappointed Shakidi chose not to say anything.

Gray and Kamari Underwood were arrested shortly after the killing while Shakidi Underwood was arrested weeks later outside Atlanta, Georgia. Kamari will have 686 days of jail credit taken off his prison term and Shakidi has 619 days of jail credit.

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