Stars and Stripes – Man gets decades in prison for killing Lewis-McChord Joint Base soldier outside nightclub

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Daquan Foster, a soldier stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, was shot and killed outside a nightclub in Tacoma, Wash., October 29, 2017. (Facebook)

TACOMA, Wash. (Tribune News Service) – Daquan Foster and Randy Donaldson both appeared to be trying to improve their lives.

Foster served his country in the United States Army while stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Donaldson was an ambitious musical artist. Both were young fathers who had difficulties in their education.

“It seems to me that these two men were looking for a way out,” Judge Bryan Chushcoff said Monday.

Chushcoff sentenced Donaldson to 42 years and 10 months in prison for Foster’s death.

He and another man shot Foster, 22, outside a Tacoma nightclub on October 28, 2017.

Jurors convicted Donaldson, 34, of second degree murder, first degree assault and second degree assault last month.

Foster’s relatives told the court they were incredibly proud of his military service and the loving father and husband he had been.

He had planned better, they said, and didn’t deserve what had happened to him.

They reiterated that Donaldson didn’t even know him and said they were angry, hurt and confused.

A letter his wife wrote described Foster as a selfless, tolerant, sensitive, humble, upright and genuine man.

“Some days I don’t know where my next breath is coming from,” said the letter, which Assistant District Attorney Jesse Williams read in court.

He called the shooting tragic and beyond insane.

“I found this case incredibly haunting,” Williams told the judge.

Foster was a good person, said the prosecutor, who was with good people.

They were celebrating Foster’s wife’s passage through an important military exam, The News Tribune reported.

Foster must have been pushed out that night, Williams said, as he had been on the pitch and wanted to hang out with his son.

That night Donaldson and Marshall Marion Wilson were also at the club. Donaldson is a local rap artist and Wilson is a music promoter, The News Tribune reported.

As Foster walked to his car, he and Wilson had some sort of trade-off, punches were thrown, and then Wilson and Donaldson fired, the prosecutor said, putting the others in danger. Wilson has already been convicted.

Foster was shot several times and his wife was shot in the thumb.

“Why?” Williams said. “It’s just obscene … senseless violence for no good reason.”

A 22-year-old, he said, died for nothing.

“Destroyed two families”

Defense attorney Thomas Balerud told the court he found his client kind and supportive from the start of the case.

“Where is this monster?” ” he said.

He said Foster didn’t deserve to die and that another man was already in jail paying for it.

Wilson was sentenced to 43 years and four months in prison in 2019 after jurors found him guilty.

At the time, the court ordered Donaldson’s trial set aside after jurors could not reach a decision in his case. Last year, a second trial was quashed over juror disputes and apologies. Donaldson’s last trial began in April.

Balerud said that one trial, let alone three, is a lot for someone.

He asked for an average sentence and argued that any standard sentence (34 and a half to 45 years, four months) would mean his client will be an old man when he is released.

“He’s not going to be a big risk to society based on his age,” the lawyer said.

Those close to Donaldson maintained his innocence, told the court he had been a great father and father figure to many, and said he was not the person presented to him. They described how he encouraged others to be successful.

When it was Donaldson’s turn to speak, he apologized “to all who have had to deal with this situation.”

Before handing down the sentence, Chushcoff spoke of Foster’s generous spirit. He said he remembered the trial that Foster got late at one point that night to talk to a homeless man about getting him a meal. How many of us would do that, the judge wondered?

Chushcoff also said it didn’t surprise him that Donaldson has good qualities. As a lawyer, the judge said, he met other people in Donaldson’s position who were funny, intelligent and caring people who were also guilty.

It seemed like Donaldson wanted to be successful, he said, and that he was a caring and caring father.

While loyalty to friends can be a good quality, the judge said, putting it ahead of other things may have been what brought Donaldson down.

What happened, Chushcoff said, “just destroyed two families.”

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(c) 2021 The News Tribune (Tacoma, Washington)

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