Two men convicted in the execution-style slayings of three Des Moines teens have been sent to prison, while an accomplice who testified against them has yet to be sentenced.
Emmanuel Totaye, 21, and Daishawn Gills, 23, were found guilty in an April trial in Polk County district court of the January 2020 shooting deaths of brothers DeVonte Swanks, 19, and Malachi Swanks, 16, and their friend Thayne Wright, 15. Gills was convicted of first-degree murder and robbery , while Totaye was convicted of first-degree robbery and second-degree murder.
On Friday, Gills was sent to prison for life without possibility of parole. Totaye effectively received a life sentence, as well: three consecutive terms of 50 years, including mandatory minimum terms that add up to more than a century.
Prosecutors alleged the two, along with Leontreal Jones, then 16, spent the day of Jan. 30 hanging out at the Swanks' home, then decided to rob the three youths of their phones, game consoles of other possessions, shooting and killing them to prevent them from reporting the crime. Their bodies were found in an upstairs closet with multiple pistol and shotgun wounds.
Jones, now 18, reached a deal with prosecutors before the trial and testified against Gills and Totaye, saying he'd waited in a car parked on the street after the robbery while the other two went back into the home to carry out the shootings.
Jones, who fled the state after the killings and was arrested months later in Illinois, is expected to plead guilty to robbery under the terms of his plea deal on June 30.
Attorneys for Gills declined to comment. Totaye's attorney, Alfredo Parrish, said the sentencing was "a wrenching experience."
"My heart goes out to all the families," said Parrish, adding that Totaye is planning to appeal his conviction.
Judge Celene Gogerty delivered the sentences, and also denied a motion from Totaye seeking a new trial. Both Totaye and Gills declined to speak at the hearing.
This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Two sentenced in 2020 Des Moines triple homicide, third to plead guilty