Shaquille Small, found guilty of the second-degree murder of Jordon Marcelle, a man he didn’t know, and of the attempted murder of a man he was trying to kill, outside the Scarborough Town Centre on July 10, 2020, has been sentenced to life in prison with a parole ineligibility period of 14 years.
It was just after 2 p.m. when Small and his girlfriend Tristawna Christian went to the shopping mall intending to buy food at Walmart for a barbecue. After parking their vehicle, Small saw Ad-Ham Khamis and Marcelle entering the Walmart.
Small and Khamis had a history. In 2011, Khamis had been charged with three counts of attempted murder after a shooting that took place at a pizza restaurant at Orton Park Road and Lawrence Avenue. The victims were Small’s friends.
Small testified at Khamis’s preliminary inquiry but the charges against Khamis were discharged after that inquiry. Small believed Khamis to be a member of the Galloway Boys street gang and believed him to always be armed with a gun.
After spotting Khamis, Small and Christian returned to their vehicle, where Small left a handgun he regularly carried with him. As Marcelle and Khamis approached the door of the shopping mall, after being turned away from the Walmart because they were not wearing medical masks, Christian drove out of the parking lot and Small fired at least five shots from the back seat of the car in the direction of the two men.
Khamis was not hit but one of the shots struck Marcelle in the abdomen. Khamis and Marcelle ran into the mall while Small’s vehicle sped off. After entering the mall, Marcelle was taken to hospital. Khamis did not stick around because he was armed. Marcelle succumbed to his injuries two days later.
At the outset of the trial, Small pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder but tried to plead guilty to manslaughter. The Crown did not accept the plea. Small pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and guilty to unauthorized possession of a loaded firearm.
Small admitted he was the person who discharged the shot that caused Marcelle’s death but maintained he did not intend to hit or kill anyone. Instead, he testified in his own defence that he had discharged the gun while in a panic because he believed Khamis, whom he feared, had seen him.
The Crown argued that after seeing Khamis, Small formed a plan to kill him in order to extract some “street justice” for having shot at his friends and the shooting was the implementation of that plan. The jury found Small not guilty of first-degree murder but guilty of second-degree murder and attempted murder.
Kayla Marcelle, Jordon’s sister, gave a victim impact statement before sentencing calling the shooting “cowardly and highly irresponsible,” saying her brother didn’t deserve to die that way.
Nathan Wright, Jordon’s brother, told the court his father died the same way Jordon did, and he has honoured his dad by living an honest and purposeful life, working as a TTC operator. He described Jordon as a kind, tender-hearted person who would never hurt anyone.
“From this experience alone, I’m afraid to travel to the Scarborough region, especially the mall where my brother was killed.”
Court heard that in 2014, Small was convicted of possession of the proceeds of crime and assault and in 2016, was convicted of unauthorized possession of a loaded prohibited or restricted firearm and possession of a firearm contrary to a prohibition order.
“Small was subject to not one but two firearm prohibition orders at the time of the offence,” Superior Court Justice Andras Schreck said.
The judge said he was unable to make any finding about Small’s motivation, saying not much turns on it.
“Whether Mr. Small was seeking to dispense ‘street justice,’ whether he wanted to ‘neutralize’ a person he believed to be a threat, or whether he had both motivations, the fact remains this was a brazen shooting in a public place for which there can be no justification.”
On the issue of gun crime, Schreck said handguns have but one purpose, which is to kill or seriously injure human beings.
“The prevalence of gun crime in Toronto is depressingly familiar to those who work in the criminal justice system,” he said. “This case is a microcosm of the problem.”
He noted that Marcelle died as a result of a gunshot wound.
Marcelle’s brother mentioned that his father died after being shot. Small, who shot at Marcelle, was armed with a gun. Small himself had been shot at the Toronto Raptors victory celebration the year prior. And in 2011, three of his friends were shot in the incident for which Khamis was charged.
“Given the continued prevalence of gun crimes, it’s clear that the criminal justice system cannot eradicate the problem by itself. Additional steps need to be taken to identify and remedy the social conditions that result in young men like Mr. Small and Mr. Khamis arming themselves with deadly weapons,” Schreck said.
The judge said any such step taken is too late for Marcelle. The best he can do is hope the sentence will denounce the conduct that led to Marcelle’s death and deter another person from committing a similar crime.
Along with the life sentence for second-degree murder, Small was also given a 12-year sentence for attempted murder, an eight-year sentence for firearms possession and two one-year sentences for the breaches of prohibition orders. All the sentences are to be served concurrently.
Small’s girlfriend pleaded guilty on Aug. 25 to manslaughter and was given a six-year sentence.
Shaquille Small sentenced to life in prison, found guilty of 2nd degree murder
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