Amos “Ace” Don was sentenced today in Suffolk Superior Court to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of Erica Field, 29, who he shot twice in the head in a Norwell Street truck storage lot in August 2009.
Don, 27, was convicted Tuesday of first-degree murder for Field’s death. He was also convicted of armed assault with intent to murder and aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon for shooting Field’s boyfriend, Shameek “JoJo” Garcia, once in the head during the same incident.
In her victim impact statement, Field’s 14-year-old daughter, Monica, said Don ruined her life when he killed her mother.
“There’s a piece of me missing, which cannot be replaced, no matter what,” she said. “While most teens will have their mothers to help them with big decisions like prom plans, wedding day, choosing a husband, my mother will not be there for any of that. Thanks to Mr. Don.”
Don shot the man and woman after a third person stole a large amount of heroin from him in Lewiston, Maine, where the victims were from, according to court documents. Field’s boyfriend acknowledged selling drugs for Don, but Field was not involved, according to a spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney’s office.
“I’ve never liked, Your Honor, the term ‘crime of passion’ that people use to describe certain things, but that term, when people do use it, it recognizes that some violent crimes come from impulse, come from anger, come from some type of loss of control,” said Assistant District Attorney Ian Polumbaum during sentencing. “This shooting of two people from behind in a car wasn’t out of passion or any kind of heat. It was ice-cold. It was essentially making two lives part of the calculation, part of the cost-benefit analysis of a business decision.”
Don is currently serving a 76-month sentence for a federal gun conviction, which is set to end in early 2015. Judge Christine McEvoy set his sentence to begin after the federal sentence ends; Don was also sentenced to 15 to 20 years on the intent to murder charge, 13 to 15 years on the aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon charge, and 4 to 5 years on the unlawful possession of a firearm charge. The additional charges will run concurrent with his life sentence.
“Erica Field didn’t sell drugs for this defendant. She didn’t betray him. There was no reason to hurt her,” said Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley in a statement. “Her murder, and the attempted murder of her boyfriend, came at the hands of a cruel and cowardly man who valued his drug money more than human life.”
Monica said that she was so close with her mother that they seemed to share a special ability to know when something bad was happening with each other. The night her mother was killed, Monica said, she cried the whole night before she went to bed, convinced that her mother would never come home.
“It was a horrible feeling I had inside and to this day I cannot describe it,” she said. “Sure enough, the next morning, my family was all at my house and my [grandmother] woke me up and told me my mother was dead. Everyone was crying. I thought it was a joke, a dream, something besides reality. But no, it was reality.”
As she finished her victim impact statement, Field began crying, and looked for the first time straight at Don. She kept her eyes on him as she left the stand.
Erica Field’s father, James, and boyfriend also gave impact statements. Her father held photographs of his daughter aloft as he described her smile and love for her family; her boyfriend, a scar snaking around the side of his head, spoke haltingly about the devastation the shooting had wrought on his life and Field’s family’s life.
“It’s been three and a half years, and I’m still figuring out the damage that’s been done,” he said.
Don appeared upbeat in court, smiling and waving to family members and a lawyer in the courtroom when he walked in. He sat up straight and stared ahead while Field’s loved ones spoke.
His attorney, Stephen J. Weymouth, said in an interview after sentencing that his client was very young and very immature. Weymouth said Don had pleaded not guilty and that as far as he knew, he was not guilty. There was reasonable doubt, he said, and it was possible that another person pulled the trigger.
First-degree murder convictions are automatically appealed to the Supreme Judicial Court.
Don waved and smiled again as he left the courtroom.