Racheon Brown sentenced to 18 years for killing Mark Hooten in 2009

Victim, 16, was popular student, basketball player

CINCINNATI -  The killing of Mark Hooten, a promising 16-year-old student and basketball player, shocked the community in 2009.

Hooten was shot in the back at a bus stop while he was going to a job-training program.

On Monday, Racheon Brown pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 years in prison. Last week, co-defendant Antwan Nelson also took a plea deal.

But it’s not over for Hooten's mother, Yvette. She is still grieving. She poured out her emotions in Judge Robert Ruehlman's courtroom.

“My baby was 16. He had a future,” she cried. “He was going to a job training program.  He was doing what kids do.  Earn money. 

"He hurt me so bad.  I've been sick over this for the last four years. Him going to jail is not going to bring my baby back. This battle isn't mine. It's God's."

There was tension in the hallways between families after Nelson’s hearing last week, but on Monday, Ruehlman made sure the emotion stayed in the courtroom.

As the handcuffed Brown was led in, Ruehlman warned both families.

“I have jurisdiction over the hallways and the whole courthouse.  So, if there's any fights on the way out, the sheriffs are on notice right now. They'll bring you back in and you go to jail. It's six months - automatically,” Ruehlman said.

There were no incidents.

Hooten was a popular neighborhood kid who worked hard at Dater High School, attended church and dreamed of playing pro basketball.

Prosecutors say Nelson and Brown thought Hooten had marijuana. When it turned out he didn't, one of them shot him.

Brown told Ruehlman the shooting was an accident -- he didn't mean it to happen -- but the judge wasn't buying it.

"He posed no threat to you.  He was just a kid.  It's horrible," Ruehlman said.

Asked if he had anything to say, Brown simply said he was sorry.

"I just want to apologize to the family. His brothers are there. Forgive me again,” Brown said.  “Just want to apologize and let them know I do got remorse and I do got a lot or regret in my heart."

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