By Lisa Redmond
LOWELL -- Saying 15-year-old Corey Buxton "didn't deserve to die,'' a superior court judge slapped Robert Malcolm with a three-year state prison sentence saying it was the 18-year-old's actions in stealing $20 that triggered the Shirley boy's death earlier this year.
In Lowell Superior Court on Tuesday, Malcolm, of Ayer, pleaded guilty to unarmed robbery, assault with intent to rob, and two counts of assault and battery for the Jan. 4 robbery and assault.
Prosecutor Sean Casey asked for a five-to seven-year state prison sentence, while defense attorney David Larsen requested a 2 1/2 -year jail sentence for Malcolm.
While no sentence will bring Buxton back, Judge Janet Kenton-Walker said, "Corey Buxton didn't deserve to be robbed and Corey Buxton didn't deserve to die.''
Despite Malcolm's lack of a criminal record, Kenton-Walker exceeded the sentencing guidelines that called for a jail sentence of one year to 36 months by sentencing Malcolm to three-years in prison followed by five years probation. Malcolm has 139 days of jail credit.
While on probation, Malcolm must abstain from drugs and alcohol, undergo a mental-health evaluation and treatment, stay away from the victims and their families, and wear a GPS monitoring device for the first year.
Casey said that on Jan. 4, Malcolm and a juvenile co-defendant were riding in a car that followed Corey Buxton and his friend.
Malcolm and his friends were on their way to buy marijuana, but changed their plans when they saw the two boys, Casey said. The car stopped, and Malcolm allegedly asked if Buxton and his friend had any money.
Then, Malcolm and co-defendant Devon Acevedo Rosenberger jumped out of the car and allegedly forced one of the younger teens to the ground and starting punching the other in the face.
The assailants stole $20 from the teens, allegedly with the intent to buy marijuana, then ran to the car and told the driver "to 'Go! Go!" and told their friend they had just robbed one of the victims," Casey said during an earlier hearing.
Buxton ran after the thieves, but as he stepped off the curb, he was hit by a car traveling west on West Main Street in front Parthenon Pizza. Buxton was thrown into the air and was then hit by a second vehicle, a Ford SUV, heading in the opposite direction.
Malcolm saw Buxton "lying in the street and didn't stop" after he robbed him, Casey said. Rather, he fled, hopping into a car and driving off with others.
Buxton was rushed by ambulance to Nashoba Valley Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Later that night, Malcolm allegedly went to purchase some narcotics, and "bragged that he had just robbed someone that just got hit by a car," Casey alleges.
In court, Buxton's mother, Michelle Driscoll, wore a T-shirt with her son's photo on it. Wiping away tears, Driscoll said, "I know no sentence will bring my son back, but no mother wants to lose her son over $20. My son's life was worth more than that.''
Driscoll said her son, who turned 15 six days before his death, was often bullied and that it "kills me'' that during the last moments of his life he was being bullied by Malcolm. Driscoll said she is bothered that Malcolm has shown no remorse for what he did.
Amber Pike, Buxton's sister, told Malcolm that his actions led to the loss of a "beautiful person,'' who was her best friend.
She told Malcolm that everyone deserves a second chance, but there are consequences to everyone's actions.
While Malcolm did not speak during the hearing, his attorney said that although Malcolm shows no emotion, "each night he has nightmares. He knows he did it and wishes he could take it back.''
Larsen said it is clear his client "made the biggest mistake of his life.''
Follow Lisa Redmond at www.twitter.com/lredmond13.