SAN ANTONIO – Exactly one week after declining a plea deal for a 20 year prison sentence, a Bexar County jury sentenced Sasha Skare to 55 years in prison on Friday for killing a San Antonio rapper in 2021.
Skare is convicted of fatally shooting Martell Derouen, a San Antonio rapper related to Beyoncé, in January 2021 near La Cantera.
In the courtroom, Martell Derouen’s family hugged each other while Skare remained stoic.
Martell Derouen’s sister, Kami Derouen, read her victim impact statement right after the verdict was read.
She honored Martell Derouen’s memory while delivering her final message to his killer.
“The pain and agony you brought upon my family is unbearable,” Kami Derouen told Skare. “Fix your sheets, if you have any, because you’ve made your bed and now it’s time for you to lay in it.”
The jury deliberated Skare’s punishment Friday for four and a half hours after each side made their final closing arguments.
Three and a half hours into deliberating Skare’s punishment, jurors asked the court if Skare had served time for the case, and if so, for how long.
Jurors also wanted to know if Skare’s time served would count towards her sentence.
Judge Kristina Escalona did not answer the question, telling jurors they had all the law needed to make their decision.
The same jury took two hours to find Skare guilty on Thursday.
The state called in three witnesses Thursday afternoon to give jurors a better picture of how Derouen’s death impacted his family.
On the way up to the witness stand, Derouen’s mother, Melissa Davis, wiped away tears.
She testified that Derouen would accompany her on hospital visits while his stepfather was being treated for cancer.
“He made sure that I was good,” Davis said.
Davis and Martell Derouen’s father, Lenard Derouen, testified about the loss’s effect on their health.
“I’m truly devastated,” Lenard Derouen testified. “I don’t sleep good at night anymore.”
Joia Derouen took the stand for the third time during the trial. She told the jury about Martell Derouen.
“He was silly. He was a foodie -- he loved to eat,” she said.
Joia Derouen testified that her husband, whom she was separated from, was loved by so many.
Joia Deroen told jurors she felt like she was Martell Derouen’s protector.
“I do have some type of hurt in my heart because I feel like if [Martell and I] would have never broken up, this would have never happened,” she testified.
The defense did not ask any of Martell Derouen’s family members any questions during this phase, nor did they have any witnesses.
During the hour-long closing arguments on Thursday, the jury heard the state’s final push to try to convince them to find her guilty of the higher murder charge.
Prosecutor Ashley Jones attempted to poke holes in Skare’s testimony, telling jurors they would have to believe Skare to find her guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.
“Has she given you a reason to believe her?” asked Jones.
Jones argued that Skare was not afraid, refuting Skare’s testimony on Wednesday afternoon.
“The defendant knew exactly what she was doing,” said Jones. “[Skare] was banging on the door to get Martell to come and deal with her, and then she shot him. That is murder.”
Skare’s defense attorneys argued that she did not intend to hurt or kill Derouen, who went by the name Kordone.
“The only people that know are Sasha and, unfortunately, Martell was killed that night,” said defense attorney Valarie Hedlund.
Hedlund said the shooting was traumatic for Skare, showing jurors pictures of the injuries Skare said she got from her fight with Derouen the night of the shooting.
In his rebuttal argument, prosecutor Chris Ramos showed the pictures of Skare’s injuries. He told jurors there was no DNA evidence showing Derouen had scratched Skare.
“By her actions, she’s implicating Joia in Martell’s death,” Ramos argued. “That sounds very cold-blooded to me.”
See live tweets below from court reporter Erica Hernandez.
For background on the case watch the ‘Open Court’ episode below.