A Shreveport teenager now charged with second-degree murder and a litany of other charges for his alleged role in a shooting early Saturday morning was on probation for a previous gun charge and the recipient of a sweetheart plea deal accepted by a judge even after he skipped out on his sentencing hearing.
Devin Owen Porter, Jr. allegedly opened fire on a group of people inside a vehicle waiting at an intersection. Police say that “several” men stepped out of another car and began shooting at the victims, but so far Porter appears to be the only person arrested in connection with the shooting.
This isn’t the first run-in that Porter has had with the law, though second-degree murder is the most serious charge that he’s faced in his 19-years. And if the criminal justice system had actually doled out justice the last time Porter was in court, he probably wouldn’t have been out on the streets on Saturday morning.
Porter has a prior arrest for illegal gun possession in March 2022. He pleaded guilty in October to misdemeanor illegal possession of stolen things. He was given a six-month suspended jail sentenced and placed on supervised probation for a year.
Sentencing was deferred until December, but Porter failed to show up so a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. He was again a no-show in January but the judge recalled the bench warrant and ordered the sentence and $400 fine to be executed.
Among Porter’s current charges is one for possession of firearm by a felon. Given that his last court case involved a misdemeanor, it sure sounds like he was already prohibited by law from possessing a gun when he was caught with one last year. Despite his status as a prohibited person, however, prosecutors allowed him to plead down to possession of “stolen things” and offered him the opportunity to walk away on probation without spending any more time in jail.
Amazingly, a judge not only went along with the original plea deal but imposed its terms despite the fact that Porter skipped out on his sentencing on two separate occasions. In fact, he even made the bench warrant disappear, so Porter didn’t have to worry about getting in trouble for his unexcused absences from court.
Is it any surprise that Porter apparently felt emboldened enough to (allegedly) pick up a gun again after his treatment in court? What consequences did the criminal justice system deliver to him? If he was prohibited by law from possessing a firearm last year, he could have been subject to 5-to-20-years in state prison, or a ten-year federal prison sentence. You can’t even call what he actually received a slap on the wrist; it’s more like a full body massage complete with a happy ending.
I can’t help but wonder what, if anything, would have happened if Porter failed to check in with his probation officer, but now that he’s behind bars I guess it’s a moot point. Still, Porter’s case is a vivid reminder that we already have plenty of gun laws on the books that aren’t being fully enforced; a topic that is strangely absent from the talking points of the anti-gun activists intent on improving public safety by criminalizing the individual right to keep and bear arms in self-defense.