One of 3 men accused in musician’s death sent to prison

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

One of the three men charged in the Christmas Eve carjacking and killing of world-renowned bass player Anthony Tolson was sentenced Wednesday for his role in the slaying.

Darnell Gene-Arthur Young, 19, will spend 33-60 years in prison for second-degree murder. He also was sentenced by Wayne Circuit Judge Craig Strong to a minimum two-year mandatory sentence on a weapons charge.

He pleaded guilty June 1.

Last month, Craig ruled statements Young was said to have made to his aunt about the crime would be allowed at his trial, which was scheduled for June 28.

Tolson, 33, played bass guitar and had toured the world with some of the music industry’s biggest artists.

He was shot and killed outside a store on Gratiot on the city’s east side after he played during a holiday service at Central Baptist Church last year. The Eastpointe resident had just left church and stopped at the party store before seeing his three children and bringing them Christmas gifts. He was approached in the parking lot by the three men and was killed, allegedly for the expensive tire rims on his car.

Young’s aunt, Kierra Strickland, 19, testified during his preliminary hearing in February about a telephone call she had with her nephew where he told her about his involvement in Tolson’s murder.

“He said that he’s in trouble, and that he did something really bad,” the woman testified. “Then he told me what he did: He killed someone. I didn’t believe him. I said, ‘You’re lying.’ Then he ended up sending me the link (to an online news story about the killing).”

The conversation “ended with me telling him he needs to pray, that he needs to get right with God, and that I’ll pray for him.”

The other two men charged in the case also face trial: Charles Cox, who police say is the gunman who killed Tolson, on June 28 and Devan James Williams, Aug. 1.

Cox and Young allegedly took Christmas gifts — a Batman toy, three video games and other items — from Tolson’s vehicle before setting it on fire. Authorities say the pair reportedly told police Tolson’s rims could fetch $1,200.

Tolson left behind three children Amber, 13, Aaron, 12, and William, 7.

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