Teen who killed 5-year-old sentenced to 28 to 60 years in prison for three deaths

Earlier this year, Malcolm Ray Hardy pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree murder for killing Aaron Benson, LaShon Marshall, and her son, Caleb Harris, in February 2022.

Today he learned that he’ll spend at least 30 years in prison.

Hardy, 18, was sentenced to 28 to 60 years for each of the three second-degree murder charges, with the sentences running concurrently. He’ll also serve two years for a gun charge prior to the start of the other time. He was given 856 days of credit for time served while awaiting trial and sentencing. 

Chenell Marshall, LaShon’s sister read a written statement to the court. 

"My sister decided to give you a chance at life because she could relate to the lifestyle you were living," Chenell Marshall said. "My sister cared for you. … LaShon had so much life to give the world and you stopped it because your own selfish reasons."

"Caleb, the name you should never forget didn’t get to see life beyond the age of five. You took life from a precious baby who was innocent," she said. "You were the one who took him to the store, played with him. My nephew’s life did not deserve to be taken by your hand." 

Caleb’s grandmother said that the death of her grandson devastated her son. 

"I have 32 grandchildren," she said. "It has devastated our entire family, especially his brothers and sisters. … This young man has stole something from me, … today he would have been eight. The week after he was murdered would have been his birthday."

Lashon Marshall and Caleb Harris

"He was so little, and so innocent, why would you do that," Caleb’s grandmother said through tears. "God asks us to forgive, but this is something that I have not forgiven this young man for."

Hardy, wearing a face mask in court, sat silent and watched as the victim impact statements were given.

The judge wished healing for the family.

"My hope is that you can find some peace in spite of this tragedy," Judge Wanda A. Evans said to the family and friends of the victims who were present in the court. "It won’t be easy, the pain will be there for some time, I truly hope that you can find some peace."

Twenty-two shots were fired that night. Harris and Benson were both shot nine times, while Marshall was shot four times.

During a hearing in 2022, Judge Kenneth King said there were holes in Hardy's story about shooting Benson in self-defense. He said that between the shootings Hardy had time to reflect on his actions, which showed premeditation for murder. 

Caleb Harris

Hardy, who was just 16 at the time of the crime, did various odd jobs, including delivering marijuana, for Benson, according to previous testimony. 

A friend who testified said he was with his twin brother and Hardy the night of the murder when the brother and Hardy left. When they returned, Hardy was holding a gun that belonged to Benson.