An Akron man smiled and nodded his head Monday after hearing a judge sentence him to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 29 years.

This incensed family members of Dominique Thomas, the 31-year-old man Andre Warren was convicted of shooting and killing.

“You famous now, ain’t you?” one woman yelled at Warren.

“Figure that out while you do that time!” another shouted.

As deputies led Warren out of the courtroom in handcuffs, family members of Warren and Thomas turned their frustration on each other, exchanging shouts and even a few shoves as deputies attempted to get both sides to leave separately.

“Somebody’s got to stop!” pleaded LaDonna Hunter, one of Thomas’ aunts.

This was the volatile end to Warren’s emotional and tense sentencing.

Warren, 28, was found guilty by a Summit County jury last month of the shooting death of Thomas and the shooting of another man, who survived. Jurors convicted him of two counts each of murder and felonious assault and one count each of escape, having weapons while under disability and carrying a concealed weapon. Several of the charges included gun specifications.

He was found not guilty of a third count of felonious assault that involved a woman who was in the car with the other victims but wasn’t harmed.

The shooting happened July 1 outside of Julian’s restaurant in Akron and was captured on surveillance video. Warren claimed self-defense in his trial. He testified that he shot first because he thought Thomas, with whom he had an ongoing feud, was about to shoot him.

LaDonna Hunter said Warren murdered a father of nine who was a son, brother, nephew, grandson and friend.

“Why did you become the judge, jury and executioner of a person’s life?” she asked.

Hunter said she hopes Warren will eventually be remorseful.

“We have a responsibility to heal communities of senseless violence,” she said. “How can we think it’s OK?”

Assistant Prosecutor Jay Cole said Warren has shown no remorse and, after he heard the guilty verdicts against him said, “N----- is still dead,” referring to Thomas. He said Warren echoed this in jail calls.

“The man is still dead — he got the better of him,” Cole said.

Cole suggested that Summit County Common Pleas Judge Alison Breaux sentence Warren to life in prison with possible parole after 32 years.

John Greven, Warren’s attorney, pushed for a lesser sentence, arguing that some of the prison terms should run concurrently.

Warren, who plans to appeal, remained defiant when he spoke, saying he had no choice but to shoot Thomas.

“I was in fear for my life,” he said. “I would have never shot him if I wasn’t scared.”

Warren, though, said he feels badly for Thomas’ mother.

“No, you don’t!” Yvette Hunter, Thomas’ mother yelled from the gallery. “You never showed no remorse whatsoever. You’re talking for your life now!”

“I won’t show remorse for somebody who was trying to kill me,” Warren said.

Breaux said a shooting like this happens “when guns and street justice come into play.”

“You stand here convicted of heinous crimes and you took a man’s life,” she said. “And it wasn’t justified. I hope someday you realize that.”

 

Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705, swarsmith@thebeaconjournal.com and on Twitter@swarsmithabj.