A Wichita man convicted of taking part in the city’s first two homicides of 2013 was sentenced Friday to two life terms plus 19 years in prison.
Jerone Brown, 20, was convicted in the shooting deaths of Shawn Rhone and Adji Tampone, who were shot to death in drug-related crimes. He was also convicted of one count each of aggravated robbery, attempted aggravated robbery and criminal discharge of a firearm.
He is the third Brown brother convicted in the crimes. Shawn Brown, 21, received the same sentence as Jerone in the deaths of Rhone and Tampone. Milo Brown, 22, was sentenced to life in prison for his role in Rhone’s murder. He was not charged with taking part in Tampone’s killing.
Prosecutors said Rhone, 42, was shot during an attempted robbery on Jan. 2, 2013, after being lured to a vacant house in the 1700 block of Northeast Parkway to sell marijuana.
They said Tampone, 29, was found shot to death in his home in the 700 block of South Rutan on Jan. 3, 2013. Police said Tampone was killed because he owed Shawn Brown $1,000 for crack cocaine that Tampone had taken from him.
Police said the brothers drove to the scene of the Rhone killing in a 2003 Cadillac DeVille that was taken from Tampone’s home after he was killed.
Before the sentence was imposed, defense lawyer Pamela Parker asked District Judge Ben Burgess for leniency, arguing that her client was 19 years old at the time of the crimes and was only a bystander when the murders were committed.
“I don’t believe that Mr. Brown was a major participant in either of these crimes,” she said.
Prosecutor Monika Hoyt disagreed.
“He was an active participant in planning and executing both of these murders,” she said.
Burgess, who presided at Brown’s trial, said the evidence showed that Brown knowingly participated in both murders. He ordered Brown to serve consecutive life sentences on the murder convictions and a consecutive 19-year sentence for aggravated robbery.