PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The family of Ervaeua Herring was in a Multnomah County court for the sentencing of the man who admitted causing her death in August 2014, and her mother is not very happy.
In all 6 people were arrested in connection with her death. Jeffrey Lamont Sims was initially charged with murder, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter in July 2019, almost 5 years after the shooting death of the pregnant 21-year-old in her Eastwood Village Apartment..
Herring’s mother, Aleasha Branch, spoke in court and voiced her displeasure at the outcome.
“Injustice is spreading like wildfire,” Branch said. “This is like a slap on the wrist. I want the court to know I don’t agree with the plea. I never have and I would have rather 12 jurors pick, and if they did ‘innocent’ or ‘guilty’ I’d be fine with that.”
Branch said Sims will be out of prison when Ervaeua’s son is 9. “My grandson don’t have a mother. I don’t have a daughter. My sons don’t have their sister. And I don’t have my grandbaby that my daughter was pregnant with.”
Sims, she said, smirks everytime he’s in court.
“It’s not OK,” she told the court. “Justice is like a joke to me, it really is. It’s not right and I’m not going to pretend that I agree with it. I don’t. And I did not get no justice for my baby.”
Judge Gregory Silver heard what she said.
“This is a sad case and, ma’am, I’m truly sorry for what you’ve had to go through in your losses in this case,” Judge Silver said. “In a case like this there is never any right answer that restores matters to what they were before. But I am going to sentence the defendant pursuant to the terms of the negotiated agreement that was reached.”
Sims was sentenced to 6 years, 3 months in prison. He also gets credit for time served.
He declined to speak at his sentencing.
Aleasha Branch voiced her disapproval, but turned things over to a higher power.
“God has the first and last say and we’ll leave it at that.”
Ervaeua Herring’s killing sparked a major escalation in gang shootings in the Portland metro area.
Her apartment unit had been bombarded by gunfire, according to law enforcement. Records show that police found evidence from Herring’s apartment that shows “at least 6 different” firearms were used in the crime. Investigators don’t believe she was the intended target.
Sims was the 6th person taken into custody in the case which included other known Hoover gang members: Demetrius Ray Brown, Geontae Brachaurd Jones, DeAnthony Simmons and Kelani Brown. Sims was identified as one of the 6 shooters that night.
The night Ervaeua Herring was killed
Ervaeua Herring was shot not long after a fight between members of the Hoover and Woodlawn Park Bloods gangs at SW 3rd and Ash in downtown Portland. One Hoover gang member was shot and another pistol-whipped.
Herring was shot in retaliation, investigators said.
When homicide detectives arrived at Ervaeua Herring’s apartment, they spoke with one of her neighbors. That woman told detectives three gunmen had “burst” into her apartment shortly before the shooting.
The gunmen “…pointed guns at her and her children, and demanded to know where ‘Dre Steves’ was,” according to an affidavit filed by deputy district attorney Adam Gibbs.
The neighbor was able to tell detectives that in addition to the three men inside her apartment, there were four men standing outside. She said the men outside were also armed.
The woman told the gunmen that Dre Steves did not live there.
“When the gunmen demanded to know which apartment was Dre Steves’, [the woman] pointed to the sliding glass door belonging to Ervaeua Herring,” court documents said.
The true name of “Dre Steves” is Deandre Stephens – a documented member of the Woodlawn Park Blood criminal street gang, according to court documents. Stephens was Herring’s boyfriend.
Before the gunmen left the woman’s apartment, they took her phone and “very shortly thereafter, gunfire erupted in the backyard of the apartment complex,” according to court documents.
Responding officers found Herring where she had fallen, immediately inside the back sliding glass door of her apartment, according to prosecutors. An autopsy showed that her death was caused by “gunshot wounds [to the] brain.”
The others involved in her shooting
Besides Sims, 5 other people were charged in her shooting death:
- Demetruis Brown, Kelani Brown and Deanthony Simmons are currently awaiting trial.
- Tony Lamar Brown previously pleaded guilty to murder with a firearm, burglary and unlawful use of a weapon.
- Geontae Jones pleaded guilty to murder and manslaughter and is awaiting sentencing.