Man gets 55 years for shooting friend to death
By Ruth Ann Krause Post-Tribune correspondent April 12, 2013 2:54PM
Updated: May 14, 2013 6:13AM
The last phone call Terry Pittman had with his son included a bit of teasing.
Pittman said he always ended his phone calls by saying, “I love you,” but his son didn’t want to express his feelings in front of two guy friends. Before he hung up, though, his son did say those three words.
Within minutes of that call, Pittman said he learned his son, Domonique Greenlaw-Pittman, 25, was dead, shot in the head by his long-time friend, Maurice Beckham.
Pittman described the difficult time the family, including Domonique’s twin sister, have had in coming to grips with the loss of their loved one.
“He was giving you a ride home, doing you a favor, and you killed him,” Pittman said to Beckham, his voice dissolving as he wept in court.
Lake Superior Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr. sentenced Beckham to 55 years for murder. On Tuesday, Beckham pleaded guilty but mentally ill to the charge. His plea agreement capped his sentence at 55 years.
Defense attorney Lemuel Stigler said his client has significant mental health issues but was found competent to stand trial. Stigler argued for a 45-year sentence and noted that Beckham, who submitted the same plea agreement last fall, was reluctant to admit to his mental illness.
Deputy prosecutor Monica Rogina noted that just before the murder, Beckham, Greenlaw-Pittman and another friend from childhood, Cory Hopkins, had just visited Greenlaw-Pittman’s new home that he shared with his long-time girlfriend. The victim was giving Beckham a ride home when Beckham shot him on Nov. 7, 2011, in the 2100 block of Baker Street, Gary.
Rogina said one of the individuals who wrote to the judge about the impact of Greenlaw-Pittman’s death was an individual with a criminal case pending whom Greenlaw-Pittman had tried to mentor and encourage. “Domonique had an infectious laugh and never had anything bad to say about anybody,” she said.