A Prince George’s County judge on Friday sentenced a Capitol Heights man to life in prison without the possibility of parole for fatally shooting his 17-year-old former girlfriend in Landover.
Shipman was found guilty last month of fatally shooting LaCole Hines during an ongoing dispute over custody of their 1-month-old son.
The shooting occurred Aug. 9, 2010. Two weeks earlier, Shipman was accused of threatening Hines with a gun and a felony warrant was issued for his arrest. The arrest warrant was never served because it was misfiled in a stack of misdemeanor warrants, the sheriff’s office said at the time.
A jury of six men and six women during the four-day trial never heard about the earlier incident because Judge Woodard banned prosecutors from questioning witnesses on the subject.
During the trial, friends of Hines testified she and Shipman had a contentious relationship and that the two fought often over custody of their baby, who bears his father’s name. On the day Hines was shot, she had gone to Brightseat Liquors, a store near an apartment where she was spending time with friends, to meet Shipman and pick up the baby. Friends said the car he was riding in pulled away as she spoke to him and she became angry and distraught.
Believing he would give her the child, Hines arranged to meet Shipman at the store again later that day. She had just crossed the threshold of the store’s doorway around 3 p.m. when a person wearing a mask shot her in the back of the head, according to police reports.
Public defender Dan Moskov, who represented Shipman, called testimony against his client “lies” by opportunists who wanted to beat charges themselves. He questioned the lack of a mask being found by police in the case, and the absence of Shipman’s fingerprints on the handgun recovered or gunpowder residue on Shipman’s shirt as evidence Shipman was not the shooter.
During sentencing, Shipman’s attorney told the judge that his client was both physically and sexually abused during his childhood.
Shipman had on two occasions prior to the shooting spoken to an acquaintance about wanting to kill Hines, according to testimony.
“This was a case about an execution,” Prince George’s County State’s Attorney D. Alsobrooks said in a statement. “Instead of finding productive ways to resolve conflict, this defendant resorted to extreme violence. Our community just won’t tolerate that kind of response to a challenging situation.”