ECTOR COUNTY, Texas (KMID/KPEJ)- After several hours of deliberation after hearing testimony from Erika Pena’s loved ones, jurors sentenced 22-year-old Shemar Harrington to five years in prison- Harrington was convicted of murder by that same jury on Thursday.

Pena, a mother of four, was shot and killed on May 29, 2022, when she tried to break up a fight between Harrington and another man, later identified as LaPaul Scaggs. When officers with the Odessa Police Department arrived on the scene- the parking lot of Southwest Oaks Apartments off Oakwood, they found Pena with a gunshot wound to her abdomen. The 31-year-old was taken to Medical Center Hospital where she later died. 

Scaggs was also injured in that shooting with a gunshot wound to his arm, but prosecutors said Scaggs was ‘un-cooperative” throughout the course of the case and jurors declined to convict Harrington of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon in connection with that shooting.

In court, Harrington testified that he drew his gun in self-defense because Scaggs had previously threatened him with a gun of his own. Despite that claim of self-defense, and even though the State agreed that Harrington did not intend to kill Pena, Texas law states that intent is “transferrable”- meaning that if Harrington intended to shoot, and possibly kill the man he was fighting, then he intended to kill anyone else who was caught in the crossfire.

Harrington had been facing anywhere from 5 to 99 years in prison, and may be eligible for parole in two and a half years.

“Justice was, most definitely, not served today. He’s gonna get out and do it again to someone else’s damily,” said Pena’s mom, Cindy Hatfield, in a statement to ABC Big 2 News.