A judge yesterday sentenced a 23-year-old Overbrook man to a mandatory term of life in prison without parole for the 2007 shooting death of a promising Christian-rock musician.
Before sentence was imposed, Andrew Poole, dressed in a dark-blue Polo sweater, expressed condolences to the victim's family, but told Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minehart: "I'm not the man that committed the murder. I don't care what the verdict says because I didn't do it."
A jury in December convicted Poole, of 61st Street near Columbia Avenue, of first-degree murder and weapons offenses in the Nov. 11, 2007, slaying of Tremayne Walker on 61st Street near Oxford in Overbrook.
Authorities contended that Poole shot Walker because he mistakenly believed that Walker snitched to police about a playground shooting in which a toddler and another man were injured.
Poole was also accused in the Sept. 24, 2007, shooting at Tustin Playground, a block from his home, in which Carl Wallace, 31, the alleged target, was hit seven times, and 18-month-old Mehkee Gatewood was shot by stray bullets in the foot and elbow as he sat in a stroller with his twin brother.
The jury in December deadlocked on attempted murder, aggravated assault and firearms charges in that case.
Yesterday, Assistant District Attorney Richard Sax told the judge the prosecution will be retrying Poole on those charges. A trial date has been set for Oct. 18, 2010.
Walker was the lead singer-songwriter of the Christian-rock band Browne Boyz.
During the trial, witnesses who responded to Walker after he was shot said he told them Andrew Poole or Drew Poole shot him. Sax also recounted yesterday that on Dec. 19, 2007, when Poole was arrested, police found the murder weapon, a 9 mm semiautomatic, in the West Philadelphia house from which Poole fled.
As Sax was recounting the evidence, Poole tried to speak again, but the judge interrupted him, saying, "You obviously have no remorse" and the "evidence was overwhelming" against him.
Besides the life sentence, the judge added a consecutive term of 10 to 20 years on a witness-intimidation charge. The jury found that after the shooting, Poole went to the home of a woman who responded to Walker's aid and threatened her.
After the sentencing, Poole's attorney, Colin Hueston, said his client plans to appeal.
Walker's brother, Jovan Lazenby, 21, said he was convinced Poole shot his brother. "I believe he got everything he deserved."
Karen Lear, Walker's aunt, said of Poole: "He don't know what he took from us." Her nephew, she said, was "such a wonderful young man, caring, loving and very talented." *