A Clark County judge was apologetic Thursday before ordering a young man to spend at least 10 years behind bars for the murder of his father.
“I’m sorry for you, sir,” District Judge Kerry Earley said to the man, Daron Clanton, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to second-degree murder.
“I’m very sorry for everything,” Earley continued, adding that the case was “very sad for everybody.”
Clanton was arrested in January 2016 after a fight with his 54-year-old father, Kevin, turned deadly. A police report said the father and son had been in a scuffle over college grades.
After the brief fight, they separated. That’s when the son, who was 22 at the time, grabbed a gun and unloaded its magazine into his father’s head and chest.
On Thursday, the son’s lawyer, Mace Yampolsky, said the father was abusive.
“The way I look at this case, it was almost like a battered woman case — an imperfect self-defense case,” the lawyer said, adding that the son had a spotless criminal record. “It doesn’t excuse the behavior, but it does mitigate it.”
As part of the plea deal, prosecutors agreed to the minimum of 10 years in prison. Should Clanton not be paroled, he could serve up to 25 years behind bars.
When the judge asked if Clanton wanted to say anything, the man quietly responded, “Just that I’m very sorry for everything.”
In court, several of Clanton’s relatives sat in the front row to support him. They tried to steel themselves as a bailiff placed handcuffs on the man and escorted him out of the room.
Outside, his relatives broke down in tears.
Contact Rachel Crosby at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-8135. Follow @rachelacrosby on Twitter.