Nathan McCloud likened attending sentencing for his son’s killer to stepping into his funeral all over again.
Sadness, grief and anguish filled the 124th District Court on Wednesday when a jury assessed 70 years in prison to Dominique Shaquille Marquis Harvey for the Sept. 21, 2017, fatal shooting of Cameron Taye Brooks in Longview.
Harvey, 24, of Longview verbally lashed out after hearing his punishment and victim impact statements from Brooks’ parents, at one point cursing bailiffs and Judge Alfonso Charles, despite the judge reminding him that Harvey still faces more punishment on a pending probation revocation charge.
Harvey already had pleaded guilty last week to Brooks’ murder. After hearing nearly two days of testimony, the jury took less than an hour to determine punishment — though prosecutor Tanya Reed asked for a life sentence.
Brooks, 19, of Tyler was a Tyler Junior College student at the time of his death.
From his opening statement to his examination of several witnesses, defense attorney Rick Hurlburt pressed to the jury that Harvey’s smaller frame not only factored in bullying that he has endured from others but that it might have played a role in his shooting of Brooks, who dated a woman who previously had broken up with Harvey.
McCloud countered that point in his impact statement, adding that he hadn’t forgiven Harvey but knows he will have to forgive eventually.
“I don’t know what to say. I’m angry. I’m upset, but when I look over there, all I see is another child … and I’m just going to say,” McCloud told Harvey, “for future reference, your size ain’t got nothing to do with it.”
The victim’s mother, Selina Robinson-Scott, said she “hurts to my soul” that her son died, but that it hurts even more that Harvey still has life.
“You pray for your children, and you pray when they leave that they return just like they left,” Robinson-Scott said as Harvey’s mother, Margaret Jackson nodded her head in a cadence of agreement.
“My son did not,” Robinson-Scott said, “all because of one person. ... What gives someone the right to take someone’s life, their innocence? A coward, that’s who, but today is not about you.”
Earlier Wednesday, Jackson testified that her son was “always happy, joyful and tried to make people happy.” She said that Harvey was always ashamed of his smaller stature and was thrown into trash cans several times during his freshman year at Longview High School, but that he was an honor roll student.
Jackson learned about the shooting while watching a news broadcast the next morning — not knowing that her son had been involved, she said. Moments later, Harvey entered his mother’s house with his sister and said, “I got caught up in a crossfire.”
Jackson said she responded, “No, not you, Dominique. Not you,” reminding Harvey that she begged him not to leave their home the previous night.
During cross-examination, Reed pressed Jackson about him saying that he was “caught up in a crossfire,” reminding her of earlier testimony from multiple witnesses that Harvey was the only person involved in the incident with a weapon.
“I’m going to be forward with you. He lied to you,” Reed told Jackson.
“No,” Jackson responded. “I don’t agree with that.”
Through much of Jackson’s and others’ testimony, Brooks’ family watched from the front row, with McCloud often holding his head in his right hand and his right foot shaking.
“When I want to see him or think about him,” McCloud said, “all I can do is go to his gravesite (and) put flowers up or balloons, maybe fishing lures or something like that on his grave. I hurt every day, and coming here today basically feels like stepping into his funeral all over again.”