Ex-fish market owner sent to jail in ’09 slaying

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

Detroit – Almost nine years after shooting a man to death for urinating outside his east-side fish market, a 78-year-old Detroit man was sentenced Wednesday to a year in jail.

Leroy Moon, with defense attorney Marlon Evans, appears before Judge Cynthia Hathaway.

Leroy Moon was given the jail term, put on five years’ probation and ordered to pay $9,141 for the funeral expenses of Shawn Johnson, who was 36 when Moon shot him in February 2009.

The former market owner was convicted of manslaughter in December 2011 but hadn’t been sentenced because the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office “lost track of the case,” according to a department spokeswoman.

Mildred Bryant, Johnson’s widow, said she was happy to see judgment day arrive for Moon, who had been free until being taken into custody Jan. 8 after arriving for a court hearing.

“I have been waiting years to get some form of justice for my husband,” she said in court. “Shawn did not deserve to die.”

Standing a few feet from Moon, Bryant told him: “He walked away from you. You shot him in the back. You murdered him in cold blood.”

Mildred Bryant, wife of the slain Shawn Johnson, walks past Leroy Moon, who was sentenced for the slaying but had yet to serve that sentence.

“You laughed in my face and cheated the system,” she said. “You have been untouchable until two weeks ago.”

Bryant said she was not happy with Moon’s sentence, saying “It should have been another trial. He murdered somebody. He should have gotten full time.”

Moon apologized to Bryant, saying: “I’m truly, truly, truly and deeply sorry for what happened.”

Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway granted Moon credit for 37 days of jail time served and said the delay in sentencing resulted from his file being lost, which she called a mistake in the court system.

“This judge feels very, very bad about the missteps that have taken place,” Hathaway said. “What I’m concerned about is that there was no backup system that caught this. I don’t know how it happened, but it happened.”

Moon’s first trial ended with a hung jury in October 2010. A retrial was scheduled twice for the following year but canceled both times before Moon entered his no-contest plea in December 2011.

He was to be sentenced in April 2012 but the hearing was canceled. Moon was scheduled for a post-conviction competency examination in June 2012 and found competent at a hearing later that year.

In a letter to Wayne County Circuit Court in July 2012, a social worker for the John H. Dingell VA Medical Center wrote that Moon, who served in the U.S. Air Force, suffered from “adjustment disorder with depressed mood” as well as post-traumatic stress disorder.

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