The mother of a young Baltimore correction officer on Wednesday faced the man who fatally shot her son outside a Baldwin nightclub, telling him in court she hoped God would have mercy on his soul after his “cruel” and “un-American” actions.
“He worked in the justice system,” Hope Gaskins, 44, said of her son Daquan Gaskins, a Hempstead High School graduate who was 22 at the time of his 2014 slaying. “… He didn’t deserve what happened to him.”
Dashawn Wade, 24, of Far Rockaway, had pleaded guilty to manslaughter in killing Gaskins and stood handcuffed and facing away from the victim’s family Wednesday during his sentencing in Nassau County Court. His demeanor provoked one of the victim’s uncles, who twice interrupted the sentencing before court officers escorted him out of the room.
“Why can’t he turn around while she talks to him? … You can take a life but you can’t look at her though?” he shouted at Wade in an expletive-laced rant.
Nassau Supervising Judge Christopher Quinn sentenced Wade to 19 years in prison. He told Gaskins’ mother after she called that penalty “just not right,” that he appreciated her words but the sentence was “definitive,” and a trial may have ended differently.
“My heart bleeds with you,” he said.
Prosecutors have said that at 3:40 a.m. on Aug. 2, 2014, Wade got a .38-caliber revolver from a sport utility vehicle parked a block away and shot Gaskins in the chest outside Love Jones Café & Lounge on Grand Avenue after a fight that pitted Wade and several friends against Gaskins and his cousin. Police have said a 39-year-old man also was treated at a hospital for a gunshot to a leg that morning.
Authorities said Wade fled in a car with a co-defendant and went on the run for a month before police arrested him in Hempstead. Prosecutors on Wednesday identified Wade’s co-defendant as Lyreil Moore, 21, of Uniondale, and said he pleaded guilty last month to a felony hindering prosecution charge.
After court, Gaskins’ mother called her son an outgoing, hardworking young man who had been a Maryland correction officer for less than a year before his death.
“He just wanted to live the American dream,” the Baltimore woman said.
Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas released a statement saying Gaskins’ “promising life was cut short” by Wade and she hoped the sentence would help the victim’s family as they grieved.