Dexter Allen of New Orleans, convicted by a Jefferson Parish jury of brutally executing a father and son in their Metairie home while on an auto burglary spree in a residential neighborhood two years ago, was sentenced on Friday (April 21) to life in prison without parole.
Allen, 19, snuck into the Pence family home just before midnight on April 22, 2015, killing David Pence, 56, and his son Nicholas Pence, 25, with blasts from a stolen shotgun. Allen, who lived with his mother in New Orleans at the time, traveled to Metairie in sports-utility vehicle that he allegedly carjacked earlier that day in Orleans Parish.
Allen targeted a car parked in the Pence driveway. From there, Allen entered the home, intending to steal a purse set on the kitchen counter, which he could see from outside. David Pence was shot as he slept in a recliner, and Nicholas Pence was shot as he rushed into the living room after hearing the shotgun blasts.
A Jefferson Parish jury deliberated about two hours on Oct. 17, 2016, in finding Allen guilty as charged of two counts of second-degree murder and 19 counts of simple burglary. The latter convictions were for breaking into cars.
Mandatory life in prison without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence is the statutory punishment for second-degree murder under Louisiana law. However, because he was under age 18 at the time he killed the Pences, Allen could not receive a “mandatory” life sentence in prison, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2012 decision, Miller vs. Alabama.
As such, Judge Raymond Steib of the 24th Judicial District Court, presiding over the case, had the discretion to sentence Allen to life in prison either without or with parole. The latter sentence would allow Allen to apply for parole after serving 35 years of his sentence, provided certain criteria are met.
Judge Steib heard impact testimony during a sentencing hearing on Thursday, from witnesses that included the Pence family, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office detective who led the investigation and from Allen’s mother.
The Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office argued that Allen deserved life in prison without parole. The defense argued for parole eligibility.
Noting the crimes Allen committed were “heinous,” an emotional Judge Steib opted to sentence Allen to life in prison without parole and two years for each of the 19 simple burglary counts.
“At no time has this court seen Mr. Allen show any emotion other than anger. There has been no remorse,” Judge Steib said.
Allen also is charged in New Orleans with attempted second-degree murder, illegal possession of stolen things, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and armed robbery with a firearm. He is scheduled to stand trial on those charges in May in Orleans Parish Criminal District Court.
Allen’s former girlfriend, Haraquon Degruy, 20, of New Orleans, is charged with two counts of being a principal to second-degree murder and 19 counts of simple burglary. Her trial is set for May in Judge Steib’s court.
Assistant District Attorneys Seth Shute and Rachel Africk prosecuted the case.