PITTSBURGH — The victims’ family members have been waiting five years for this moment — to hear that a jury found Martell Smith guilty of second-degree murder, and that he will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Prosecutors showed pictures of Sandra Douglas, Shamira Staten, and Shamira’s 4-year-old daughter, Chyenne Manning, to the judge, right before she sentenced Smith to three consecutive life-in-prison sentences.
When Smith first heard the guilty verdict, he acted stunned and put his head in his hands, and eventually told the judge his life was over.
He poured gasoline throughout a house in Homewood back in 2017, and set it on fire, when the two women and little girl were still inside.
They never made it out, and died in the fire.
Before Smith was sentenced, we heard statements from several family members — including one from the son of Sandra Douglas, who was also Shamira Staten’s boyfriend.
It said in part, “I actually tried to pray, but honestly I really don’t know what to believe in now. Sometimes I feel like I can’t live without them.”
Another family member wrote, “I released the hate about a year ago, and replaced it with love and happy memories. I will not allow the enemy to have control of my life anymore. I will not forget our angels, Sandra Carter, Shamira Staten, and Chyenne Manning.”
After court, the victims’ family members embraced each other and told Channel 11 this is closure.
Before the judge sentenced Smith, she told him that she noticed he didn’t express remorse for anyone who was killed.
I did see him say “I’m sorry” to the family as he walked out of court.
Channel 11′s Gabriella DeLuca was in court and will have more on 11 News starting at 4 p.m.
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