Khristina Henry holds a photo of her mother, Pamela Lark. Lark was killed… (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times )
Keeairra Dashiell seemed headed for great things when she graduated with honors from Crenshaw High and left for college on a full scholarship.
But on Thursday, Dashiell completed a dramatic and tragic downfall when the 24-year-old sat handcuffed in a downtown courtroom and, after years of lying, fully confessed to her role in a 2007 murder.
In a deal with prosecutors, Dashiell, 24, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and attempted robbery in the killing of Pamela Lark. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor sentenced Dashiell to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 19 years.
After handing down her sentence, Pastor spoke to Dashiell at length as she sat quietly next to her attorney with her head bowed. “You made horrific decisions and caused incalculable pain and suffering to others,” Pastor said in a somber tone. “You’re not entitled to pity.”
Dashiell confessed to driving her boyfriend, Tyquan Knox, to the mid-city block where Lark lived with her teenage daughter Khristina Henry. Saying she was aware Knox was armed with a gun and that he planned to kill Henry, Lark waited as Knox exited the car and drove him away when he returned.
Months earlier, Knox, a onetime football star at Crenshaw High School, robbed Henry and her boyfriend at gunpoint. Lark insisted that Henry report it to police, telling her that it was her duty to do so.
Over the next few months, Knox’s mother and other acquaintances contacted Lark and Henry in an effort to dissuade the teenager from testifying against Knox at his approaching trial. "You better watch your back," Henry remembered being told by a mutual acquaintance. "It's best that you guys not go to court."
Despite the threats, Henry still planned on taking the stand at Knox’s preliminary hearing. Four days before the hearing, Dashiell said Thursday, she and Knox went to the apartment before dawn. The pair apparently did not see Henry when she emerged from the apartment hours later and drove off.
Around 10 in the morning, Lark walked out with a neice and two young grandchildren. Knox, wearing a hooded sweatshirt, approached as Lark prepared to get in her car. He demanded her purse and then opened fire without taking anything from her or from the others.
It remains unknown why Knox targeted Lark. After two prosecutions ended in hung juries, Knox was convicted of murder at a third trial and sentenced to life in prison without parole in 2011.
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