Family calls manslaughter plea deal a “slap on the wrist”

Posted at 4:25 PM, Mar 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-30 18:37:07-04

ALLEGAN COUNTY, Mich. – The mother of an Illinois man shot to death in Holland protested outside the Allegan County Circuit Court Monday, holding signs that said, “Manslaughter?”

Family members of Derrick D’Andre Ruff-Shingles, 22, were furious about a plea deal their loved one's killer, Davon Walker, 18, accepted Monday in court.

Ruff-Shingles’ family drove from the Chicago area to protest lesser chargers for Walker, who confessed to shooting and killing their loved one in an apartment this January. It happened just weeks after Ruff-Shingles moved there for work.

The defense claimed the shooting was an accident, but testimony alleges that Walker shot Ruff-Shingles point blank, after Walker warned him during an argument that he would pull the trigger.

“Friends don’t shoot friends,” said Lisa Ruff, mother of the Derrick D’Andre Ruff-Shingles.

“Friends do not run from the crime scene. I mean, he wasn’t even charged with unlawful use of a weapon, nor was he charged with fleeing the scene. I’m trying to figure out, where’s the justice?”

Monday in Allegan County Circuit Court, Walker pleaded guilty to manslaughter. In exchange, a felony firearms charge was dropped.

Walker told Judge Baker, “I was playing around with my friend and I pointed the gun at him, and it accidentally went off.” Then through tears, Walker shouted, “(Ruff-Shingles) died!”

Walker faces up to 15 years in prison. However, the moment he was convicted of manslaughter, Lisa Ruff wailed, “I can’t do this,” and left the courtroom sobbing.

Manslaughter is a charge Ruff called a “slap on the wrist.”

“My heart is crushed,” said Ruff. “It’s broken into many pieces. I’m trying to heal from this, and this, it’s a process. It’s hard for me to digest this. And for the court system to just treat it like a slap on the wrist, it’s an insult to me.”

Loved ones of Ruff-Shingles told FOX 17 they will continue to fight this plea agreement every step of the way, though Walker’s sentencing is set for April 27.