A Bell County judge sentenced an 18-year-old Killeen man to prison time after police said the man accidentally shot his teenage girlfriend in the face last year.
The judge heard testimony during several hearings, first on Aug. 7 and continued last week, before sentencing Secoya Deon Allen Jr. to four years in prison, with credit for time served, on a second-degree felony charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Because there was no plea bargain, Allen faced up to 20 years in prison. He pleaded guilty on June 19.
Allen was held in the Bell County Jail with no bond following the remote hearing in the 264th Judicial District Court on Thursday.
Judge Paul LePak heard testimony from Allen, his parents and the victim, all of whom asked the judge to consider a term of deferred adjudication probation.
The judge also heard from the mother of the victim, who was 15 years old when Allen, then 17 years old, shot her daughter in the face.
The shooting occurred in front of a pawn shop in the 4200 block of Clear Creek Drive on Nov. 14, 2019.
During his closing argument, defense attorney Gregory Simmons said that his client is young and has admitted his guilt.
“He was an immature young man and was hanging out with older individuals,” he said. “But people have noticed a change in him.”
He admitted that probation was “a big ask.”
“He plays it over and over in his head, smells the gunpowder and sees the blood,” Simmons said. “He knows it was wrong. We’re asking the court to give him a chance. He wants to turn this negative into a positive.”
The state’s prosecutor argued for prison time for Allen to send a message.
“A 15-year-old girl had her life permanently changed because of his recklessness and the families have suffered so much because of what he did,” said Assistant District Attorney Fred Burns. “He comes from a great family who tried to put him on the right path (but) he picks up a gun while a juvenile, and was on probation when he spends $150 that he made selling weed to buy a gun, which he kept loaded with a round in the chamber. He’s lucky he’s not facing a manslaughter or murder charge.”
The mother of the victim, who testified for the state in August, remembered well the knock on the door on Nov. 14, 2019.
“Police officers came to my home to let me know to get to the hospital because there had been an incident involving my daughter and that she had been airlifted to Temple,” said Catherine Johnson. “I knew it had to be serious for a helicopter to be involved.”
She said that her daughter was on a ventilator after the bullet shattered in her jaw, which has had to be rebuilt through several surgeries.
“It was devastating,” Johnson said. “You never prepare for something like that and it’s not something you forget. She’s never going to be the same. She still goes through a lot of pain. And she’s still in love with him and she wanted to cover for him. It was an accident.”
During the Thursday hearing, Allen testified that he has changed since being in jail.
“I’ve been working on myself to become a better man,” he said. “I’m getting too old for this.”
Allen expressed remorse for the shooting.
“That wasn’t supposed to happen to someone I love,” he said. He said that he visited the victim in the hospital and has apologized to the victim’s mother.
“I’m sorry for my foolish actions in carrying a weapon, and (to victim) I wish this hadn’t happened,” Allen said.