Shooting Victim Seeks Maximum Prison Time For Man Who Shot Her

By Trish Mehaffey, The Gazette

A woman who was shot during a robbery in 2012 and remains in a wheelchair asked a judge Friday to give a 24-year-old Chicago man the maximum prison time.

“Your honor, I have a life sentence in a wheelchair, and I think Raymond Sellers should get the maximum sentence available,” Shannon Gaskins, 23, of Cedar Rapids, said in a victim’s impact statement.

Gaskins said she was shot in the spine and has less than a 1 percent chance to walk again, according to her doctors. She said she is in pain 24 hours a day, even on pain medication, and can’t do every day things like shower or get a glass of water in the middle of night if she wants it.

Sixth Judicial District Judge Stephen Jackson Jr. sentenced Sellers to 20 years in prison, the maximum sentence. Sellers was convicted by a jury in May for two counts of willful injury causing serious injury, two counts of assault with intent to inflict serious injury and one count of simple assault.

The three assault counts merge with the willful injury counts, according to law, and the willful injury counts each carry a 10-year sentence, which Jackson ordered to run consecutively.

Jackson also ordered victim restitution, with the amount to be determined when the final expenses are paid through the crime victim’s assistance program.

Sellers, along with others, went to Gaskins’ apartment on April 20, 2012 to rob her and boyfriend Alexander White, 24, according to testimony. Teran Huff then shot the couple during the incident.

Huff, 26, of Des Moines, pleaded guilty last year in the case and is serving 55 years in prison. Shantres Johnson, 22, of Cedar Rapids, who also is charged, will stand trial July 14.

Huff testified during trial that Sellers didn’t know anything about the robbery Huff helped plan. He said Sellers thought they were going to the Kirkwood Court Apartments to buy marijuana.

Sellers didn’t testify, but he told investigators during an videotaped interview played for the jury that he didn’t go inside the apartment that day. He later said he did go inside but he didn’t know about the robbery, and was only there to buy marijuana.

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