A Wichita man will spend more than 11 years in prison for stealing a wedding ring and other items from a woman who was dying from a brain aneurysm in a Taco Bell drive-through in December 2013.
Sedgwick County District Judge Christopher Magana ordered Daquantrius Johnson to serve the 136-month term consecutive to other sentences he received for crimes committed while on felony probation in a 2013 burglary case. The sentences in those cases totaled 111 months, which means Johnson, 21, will be incarcerated for about 20 1/2 years.
Johnson’s attorney, Terry Beall, had asked for leniency from the judge during Monday’s hearing, suggesting his client be sentenced to probation again.
But Magana denied the request, telling Johnson: “Unfortunately, you have become a predator on others in our society … and the public must be protected from predators and the community must be safeguarded.
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“I have considered your situation and your history, and there is much about that that is regrettable. But it’s also my job to consider the victim in this case, Danielle Zimmerman,” Magana said.
“The evidence at jury trial was that you were the one who went to her car and you were the one that robbed her. The evidence at jury trial was that you were the only one seen with and in possession of her wedding ring after this crime. The law does not require that you assist someone in a time of need. But it does prohibit you from attacking someone in their time of need.”
Johnson – shackled at his wrists and ankles and dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit – faced supporters who gathered in the gallery during the bulk of the hearing. He smiled occasionally as Magana imposed the sentence. He did not speak.
A jury in December convicted Johnson of aggravated burglary, robbery and misdemeanor theft for his role in the Dec. 29, 2013, robbery of Danielle Zimmerman, a 43-year-old mother and wife.
Prosecutors say Johnson, while he was with two other men, reached into Zimmerman’s truck and stole her purse and the ring off of her finger after she suffered a fatal brain aneurysm at the Taco Bell at 3725 E. Harry. She had gone to get dinner for her family when she fell ill in the drive-through lane and her truck hit the restaurant’s speaker box.
She died in a hospital the following day.
Police arrested Johnson, Keith Hickles and Quanique Thomas-Hameen after receiving a Crime Stoppers tip. Hickles in December pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft and was sentenced to nine months in jail. Thomas-Hameen, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft and aiding a felon, was ordered to 19 months in prison in October.
Children sledding off of Harry Street found Zimmerman’s purse on Dec. 30, 2013. Despite pleas and rewards offered for its return, Zimmerman’s ring remains missing. Johnson has said he was not involved.
Kris Zimmerman, in addressing the court during Monday’s hearing, asked the judge to impose the maximum sentence allowed in his wife’s robbery, saying Johnson “turned a tragic event into a crime of opportunity and needs to be held accountable for his actions.”
“I hope you reflect on your crime you committed every day while you’re in prison. Dani didn’t deserve this to happen to her. She was a kind and compassionate person,” Kris Zimmerman told Johnson during his comments.
“You disrespected Dani, me and my family. You also disrespected your family. When you became a father, you have the responsibility to be a good role model. You set no example of that.
“I hope when you are released you become a productive member of our society. I would think you would want your children to admire you, not be ashamed of you.”