ST. JOSEPH, MI – Berrien County Trial Court Judge Gary Bruce this week set the sentencing date for Jajuan Gabriel, 24-years-old, of Detroit, after the defendant tried to withdraw his guilty plea in a fatal crash that killed his 22-year-old passenger.
The sad saga started on February 15th, 2020, when Jajuan Gabriel attempted to flee from officers during a pursuit of Gabriel’s vehicle that began near Bridgman in Berrien County and ended on County Road 687 in Van Buren County where he lost control of the vehicle and slammed into a utility pole.
Gabriel was not the only occupant of the fleeing vehicle. His passenger was Carmisha Slayton, 22-years-old, also from Detroit, who was seated in the front passenger seat of the vehicle as Gabriel fled from police at speeds topping over 130 miles per hour.
When Jajuan Gabriel lost control of the vehicle and it hit a utility pole, most of the crash impact was on the passenger side of the car where Carmisha Slayton was seated. Slayton was flown from the crash scene to a hospital in Kalamazoo where she died as a result from the multiple injuries she sustained in the crash.
Gabriel pleaded guilty in July to first-degree fleeing and eluding from police causing death and reckless driving causing death.
During a hearing this week, Gabriel told the judge that he was not satisfied with the plea agreement that he made with the prosecuting attorneys office who is asking that the defendant be sentenced to no less than 15 years in prison. The judge found that being unsatisfied with his plea agreement was not reason enough to grant his request to withdraw that negotiated plea agreement that the courts did accept.
Jujuan Gabriel pleaded guilty as a habitual offender and agreed to a sentence of 15-30 years in prison For that agreement, the prosecuting attorney’s office agreed to dismiss a second-degree murder charge. If he had been found guilty during a trial on that charge, he could have faced life in prison.
Gabriel has an extensive criminal record based on records from the Michigan Department of Corrections. He was on probation at the time this incident took place.
Gabriel’s sentencing before Judge Bruce is set for October 23rd at 10:00 a.m.
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