Tyreq Kaylin Tilghman, 19, of Waldorf, was sentenced to 58 years in prison for the Second Degree Murder of Mason Atkins, the Unlawful Use of a Firearm in a crime of violence, and the First Degree Assault of Nicholas Eric Brennan.
Kevin Averell Jones, 19 of Waldorf, was sentenced to 7 years for the Second Degree Assault of Nicholas Brennan. Talivah Laraih Salahuddin and Shanya Imari Milstead, also sentenced for the Second Degree Assault of Brennan, were both sentenced to a 10 year period of incarceration with all of the time suspended except for the time they had served prior to sentencing. Both Salahuddin and Milstead were placed on unsupervised probation.
In the early morning of September 25, 2016, officers responded to 10400 block of Popes Creek Road for the report of a shooting. Upon arrival, officers found two teenaged victims, Mason Atkins and Nicholas Brennan, suffering from gunshot wounds. Atkins, who suffered a gunshot wound to both his neck and finger, was rendered first aid and CPR by officers, but was pronounced deceased at the scene. Brennan, who ultimately survived his injuries, suffered a gunshot wound to the chest and was flown to a hospital for treatment.
An investigation into the murder revealed that the victims showed up to a bonfire party on Mona Farm Place uninvited and were turned away. The victims, who were unfamiliar with the area, left the location of the party, drove a short distance, then stopped their vehicle on side of the road to decide what to do next. Tilghman, a passenger in a different vehicle, also arrived uninvited to the party on Mona Farm Place and was subsequently turned away along with the other occupants of the vehicle he was travelling in. The vehicle Tilghman was travelling in passed the victims' parked vehicle. At that time, a verbal confrontation between the occupants of each vehicle occurred. As a result of this argument, Salahuddin, Jones and Tilghman got out of their vehicle and approached the victims' vehicle. Once at the victims' vehicle, Jones began punching Mason Atkins through the open passenger side window. Jones also tried to pull Atkins, who was still seated in the vehicle, out of the vehicle through the window. At that point, Atkins, in effort to defend himself, pepper sprayed Jones. Tilghman, who was also hit by the pepper spray, then used a handgun to shoot multiple times into the vehicle, killing Atkins and injuring Brennan. After the shooting, Tilghman and his accomplices returned to their vehicle and Milstead, who had remained in the vehicle, drove away. Brennan, who was suffering from a gunshot to the chest, also drove away in effort to get to a safe location and call emergency personnel while simultaneously rendering aid to Atkins.
The defendants were ultimately identified through good police work. As part of the investigation, a CCSO detective identified the closest gas station on the probable escape route of the defendants, assuming that the defendants would need to treat the effects of being pepper sprayed. The Detective's instincts were proven correct as he recovered a video from that gas station. The video shows the defendants pull into the gas station, park at one of the pumps and Salahuddin entering the gas station and purchasing water. Salahuddin then takes the purchased water to the car where Tilghman and Jones can be seen using the water to rinse out their eyes. This video was the key piece of evidence that lead to the identification of the defendants.
At sentencing, Assistant State's Attorney John Stackhouse told the judge, "Tilghman took his brother's gun out of a safe, then took the gun to a party, then gets out of a car with the gun, then kills somebody and almost kills somebody else. He made the choice to fire that gun at point blank range into a defenseless Mason Atkins. Tilghman needs to be held accountable for the life he senselessly took and that means spending as much of his life in jail as the statutes allows."
Stackhouse, in recommending a sentence for Jones, told the Court that, "This murder does not occur without Kevin Jones assaulting Mason as he sat in his car essentially unable to defend himself. And the resulting level of harm that Jones begot is off the charts. Because of Jones' actions, the parents of Mason Atkins had to do something that no parent should ever have to do—bury their child. Kids should outlive their parents, not the other way around. Your sentence, your Honor, should not be limited by the guidelines. Jones earned and deserves a sentence more than that."
Assistant State's Attorney Sarah Freeman, in commenting on Milstead's and Salahuddin's role in this murder said, "No one argues that these two young women went out that night to kill somebody. But you have to make good choices in life. They didn't that night. Had they made better choices perhaps Mason Atkins might still be here. We will never know. But their present predicament should be a lesson for everyone, especially young folks, that they need to think about the consequences of their actions and see beyond the moment directly in front of them."
State v. Tyreq Kaylin Tilghman, K16-1009: Overall Sentence 58 Years
• Count 1, Second Degree Murder, 25 years
• Count 5, First Degree Assault of Nicholas Brennan, 18 years
• Count 6, Use of Handgun in Crime of Violence, 15 years
• All sentences to run consecutively
State v. Kevin Averell Jones, K16-998
• Count 7, Second Degree Assault of Nicholas Brennan, 7 years
State v. Talivah Laraih Salahuddin, K16-1003
• Count 7, Second Degree Assault of Nicholas Brennan, 10 years suspend all but 126 days, credit 126 days served, 1 year unsupervised probation
State v. Shanya Imari Milstead, K16-999
• Count 7, Second Degree Assault of Nicholas Brennan, 10 years suspend all but 21 days, credit 21 days served, 3 years unsupervised probation.