Per reports, the then-17-year-old boy Danta W., almost lost his plea deal during his murder trial after smiling during victim impact statements. The defendant was reportedly grinning while the mother of Jordan sobbed during court, prompting judge Swartz to allow prosecutors to reconsider the plea deal that was previously reached. “Watching you sit there, smile and laugh and shake your head like this was no big deal, I’m very tempted to just say I’m not going to accept this sentence agreement,” Swartz stated, MLive reported. “We’ll go to trial, and if you’re convicted of felony murder, you’ll go to prison for the rest of your life. That means you’ll die there. That’s what I’m tempted to do.”

The defendant was reportedly smiling during victim impact statements made by Jordan’s mother, grandfather and cousin. The family members spoke directly to Danta and talked about memories they had of the victim. “This year was supposed to be a year of celebration … instead it was nightmare,” the statement by Jordan’s mother, Karen, read by his cousin. “On the nights I manage to sleep, I hear my son scream for me.” When he addressed the courtroom, Danta said simply that he wanted the plea deal and that he loved his family.

Mr. Goldstein, Danta’s lawyer, told the judge that the 17-year-old’s smiles were the result of fear, as well as behavioral issues and his age. “At his age, in his condition, he might not be able to express it as well as some other defendants,” Goldstein said.

Wright and two other teens pleaded guilty to the death of Jordan, whose body was found after the three suspects allegedly attempted to steal drugs, clothes and shoes from him. The defendant reportedly admitted to shooting the victim while trying to rob him. Many readers called for the judge to reject the plea deal and throw Danta in prison. “He should [rot] in jail. Now he’ll have a chance to kill someone else,” one reader commented on Facebook. “The judge should have overriden the wishes of a grief sticker family for the sake of another victim or victims. That’s one of the problems no real consequences for their actions.” Dear readers, we are republishing this story amid recent reports of a surge in violent crime across America during the pandemic.