Mother Gets 10 Years to Life For Trying to Take Revenge

Note from the webmaster of This article was on the Washington Post website at but they removed it in the summer of 2005. Here are the most important excerpts from the article. Gun control lobbyists like Million Mom Marcher Barbara Lipscomb/Graham support gun control because they want to prevent their victims from shooting back.

Mother Gets 10 Years to Life For Trying to Take Revenge
By Donna St. George
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 27, 2001; Page B01

A grieving mother convicted of shooting a young man she blamed for her son's killing was sentenced to 10 years to life yesterday in an unusual case that laid bare the despair and rage of the city's gun battles.

Sobbing and still unreconciled about the slaying of her teenage son in January 2000, Barbara Graham, 49, insisted that she was innocent and lashed out at prosecutors for not yet bringing his killer to trial.

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After Graham took aim with her dead son's gun on Jan. 26, 2000, a young man named Kikko Smith lay bleeding in the snow in Anacostia. Smith had nothing to do with the killing of Graham's son, authorities say.

"Any way you weigh the case, it's simply tragedy upon tragedy," Rankin said.

Now Smith is paralyzed at 23 -- unable to work in his construction job or walk his children to school or play basketball or even use his bowels. He lives with bedsores and depression and session after session of physical therapy.

snip of part of article

Upon Graham's arrest, one police official described the crime as "a vigilante antic that went awry."

Still, Graham had her supporters. Throughout her trial, she was backed by the leader of Mothers on the Move Spiritually, a Prince George's County group that helped organize the Million Mom March against gun violence in May 2000.

In another one of the case's ironies, Graham had become active in the group after her 19-year-old son, Le'Pierre Clemons, was killed -- and before she was arrested in her Capitol Heights home with two guns in her bedside table.

At yesterday's hearing, Graham's attorney, Thomas Heslep, told the judge that, because Graham denies shooting Smith, it was not possible to express remorse. He asked that her sentence show that "it's time to try to heal and not to exact revenge."

When Graham returned to the courtroom after the interruption in proceedings, she apologized for her breakdown and implored the judge to let her go home. She has been locked up since her arrest last July.

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She added, "They know I didn't shoot that boy. That boy knows I didn't shoot him, too. They all want to put that on me."

The judge told her he could not free her. A jury found her guilty of assault with intent to kill while armed, aggravated assault, mayhem and a string of related offenses. Listening to the evidence, Rankin added, "I would've found the same verdict."

Even so, his sentence was not overly severe.

With concurrent time on her charges, Graham -- who at times has used her married names of Lipscomb and Martin -- might serve as little as 8 1/2 years in prison. Her co-defendant, Erskine Moorer, convicted of joining in her ambush of Smith, was sentenced to 15 years to life in April.

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The trial for Daniel William Jackson Jr., the accused shooter of Graham's son, is set for late September.

2001 The Washington Post Company

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