A judge shortened a Centreville man’s first-degree murder sentence by 10 years after the man successfully appealed his previous conviction in a higher court.
Estil Q. Stamps, 50, was previously sentenced in St. Clair County to 55 years in prison for the the 2010 shooting death of 46-year-old Fananza “Nan” Beard in East St. Louis.
The appellate court in Mount Vernon sided with Stamps in his appeal and reversed his conviction after a judge determined the prosecution made mistakes in the first trial. In a St. Clair County retrial in May, Stamps was once again found guilty.
Stamps appeared before the judge Monday afternoon for his sentence hearing in handcuffs and an orange jumpsuit with family present in the courtroom. Stamps’ attorney, Karen Craig, asked the judge to reduce the defendant’s previous 55-year sentence.
Stamps had been heavily drinking on the night of the shooting, she said, which contributed to his decisions that night. Craig added that Beard may have aggravated Stamps on the night of the crime, though Stamps could not testify to those facts because he was heavily intoxicated and unable to remember the details.
“Mr. Stamps did not set out that night to do any violence,” Craig said. “(The shooting) was a result of a great deal of alcohol and drinking.”
Craig requested the judge sentence Stamps to 45 years in prison — 20 years for first-degree murder and 25 years for a provision that requires additional time for using a firearm to kill someone.
By the time he’s released, his attorney added, he would be 88 or 89 years old and would “not be a threat to the community.”
When Judge Randall Kelley asked Stamps if he had any comment, he said, “No, sir.”
Kelley sentenced Stamps to the reduced sentence of 45 years, he said, in part because alcohol and possible aggravation from Beard may have contributed to the crime.
“But we can’t change what happened and we can’t change the facts and we can’t change history,” Stamps said.
If Stamps didn’t have a gun on the night of the crime, the judge added, Stamps probably wouldn’t have been sitting in the courtroom Monday.
“When guns are around, bad things can happen, and in this instance, the worst did,” Kelley said. “I hope somebody, someday is deterred by the sentence for Mr. Stamps here.”
Stamps hugged and kissed his family before a bailiff lead him out of the courtroom.