A Vancouver man convicted of serving as an accomplice to a 2009 Rose Village murder was sentenced Thursday morning to 38 years in prison.
Derik L. Maples, 24, was convicted Oct. 18 by a Clark County Superior Court jury of second-degree murder and first-degree assault. The charges related to a Dec. 1, 2009, drug deal gone bad at the S&S Mart.
Maples had arranged a cocaine deal and brought along a friend, Justin Tyler, as security. When they arrived at the convenience store, Maples sat inside a car with the purchaser, Clement Adams, jurors heard at trial. When Maples realized Adams tried to use counterfeit money to pay for the drugs, Maples jumped out of the car, telling Tyler: “He robbed me.”
Tyler fired his gun and killed the 45-year-old Adams. Another passenger in the car, Tyshaun Foreman, was not injured.
Tyler pleaded guilty last spring to second-degree murder. He received 32 years in prison.
In imposing Maples’ sentence, Clark County Superior Court Judge John Wulle said the two were equally responsible. Generally, the judge said he likes to impose similar sentences, but pointed out how Maples’ nine prior felonies factored in the higher sentencing range.
“What sets you apart from your co-defendant is your criminal history,” the judge said, holding up Maples’ list of prior felonies. “It’s so extensive it takes up two pages.”
Prior to hearing his sentence, Maples read a poem he wrote. He described himself as unfairly portrayed as violent. “Please don’t be scared of me. I’ve been misunderstood,” he said, pausing to control his emotion. “The mistakes I’ve made don’t compare to the good.”
At trial, Maples’ defense claimed he had no idea Tyler would fire his weapon. Though he knew Tyler was carrying a 9 mm pistol, defense attorney David Kurtz said: “He never wavered in his position that he had nothing to do with, and didn’t sign up for, the gun.”
Jurors agreed with Senior Deputy Prosecutor Kasey Vu, who contended Maples fit the legal description of an accomplice.
Facing a first-degree murder charge, jurors convicted Maples of second-degree felony murder, which doesn’t require proof of premeditated intent. For felony murder, prosecutors need only prove that a felony was being committed at the time of the person’s death; in this case, it was delivery of a controlled substance.
Wulle’s 456-month sentence includes five-year firearm enhancements for each charge. Maples has been in the Clark County Jail since December 2009, and will receive credit for time served.
Laura McVicker: www.twitter.com/col_courts; www.facebook.com/reportermcvicker; firstname.lastname@example.org; 360-735-4516.