In the video player:
TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) A sentencing hearing is scheduled Thursday for a man connected to the deadly shooting of Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Michael Garbo in October of 2021.
A federal judge will sentence Devonte Okeith Mathis, 24, as part of his plea agreement. Mathis will face up to a 10 years sentence for his involvement.
In October of 2021 Garbo was working a drug enforcement operation on an Amtrak train in downtown Tucson when he was shot multiple times by an acquaintance of Mathis, alleged co-conspirator Darrion Taylor.
Mathis pled guilty to two charges: Intent to Distribute Marijuana, which carries a 6 – 12 month sentence, and one for Carrying a Firearm in a Drug-Trafficking Crime, which carries a five-and-a-half year sentence, followed by supervised release.
The plea agreement has a cap of 10 years’ maximum time.
Mathis’s attorney Stephanie J. Meade is asking the court to consider a sentence that reflects Mathis’s character and cooperation with the police on the day of the shooting, noting in their motion for sentencing that Mathis “was described by officers as being unarmed and compliant with their commands” during the initial search that led to the shooting.
In the defendant’s motion for sentencing, Meade writes:
“This is case is one of heart wrenching tragedy. Law enforcement officers, who were just doing their jobs, were killed and/ or seriously injured, because a man named Darrion Taylor decided to inflict death and destruction upon them rather than face the consequences of his own actions. Darrion Taylors violent choices also cost him his own life. Darrion Taylors awful choices also drastically affected Devonte Mathis, who was left holding the bag for the violence in this tragedy. But for Darrion Taylors actions, Devonte Mathis most likely would have only been facing a relatively short sentence for Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Marijuana. Instead, he is facing up to ten years in prison for not making other decisions in relation to Darrion Taylors choice to carry guns and use his guns to harm others in the course of committing the marijuana crime…. …To be sure, the fact that Mr. Mathis would not involve himself with guns did not absolve him from responsibility for the 18 U.S.C. 924(c)(1)(A) count. He now understands that reality and has accepted responsibility for that role by pleading guilty to Count 2. Although he is being legally held accountable for that offense, Mr. Mathis would like the Court, and the victims, to know that he did not intend any of the harm that resulted. In fact, in his mind, he took steps to distance himself from involvement with Mr. Taylors guns. Nevertheless, his beliefs were misplaced, and he is paying a high price as a result.”
Meade also writes that Mathis is asking for his sentence to be carried out at a facility in Oklahoma, near his family. The facility has a residential drug abuse program, to which Mathis is requesting the court recommend him.
According to the court documentation, Mathis was diagnosed with conduct disorder and disruptive impulse control as a minor, but says never received counseling nor treatment. Mathis says in the documents that he did not receive disclosure at the time of these diagnoses.
Garbo was a 16-year veteran of the DEA. Taylor was also killed during the 2021 Amtrak station shooting.