(Cincinnati) -- In February of 2013, LaSalle senior Justin Brown and three friends drove to Fairmount to buy drugs. They paid for the marijuana with counterfeit money they had printed, using a photocopier. But as they drove away, the dealer opened fire. A bullet hit Brown in the neck. He died at the hospital.
Dierres Lee was arrested the next day, and was indicted on charges of murder and felonious assault.
But, Tuesday morning, saying he wanted to avoid the pain of a trial, Lee changed his plea. The original charges were dropped, and substituted with manslaughter, with a gun specification. Judge Melba Marsh accepted the plea deal, and sentenced Lee to 12 years, minus time served.
In his apologies, Lee said Brown and his friends had bought marijuana from him before, with no problems. He said he didn't understand why this time was different.
Lee said he wasn't asking for forgiveness or understanding, but told Brown's family he thinks about it every day, and regrets firing the shot that killed the LaSalle senior.
JoAnn Brown says all of her son's hopes were taken, and her family's dreams were turned into nightmares.
Judge Marsh said both sides are grieving about what should not have been, and both sides have to live with the consequences.