SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - In February, Tasman Stockdale, 27, was charged with second degree murder by Salisbury Police in the shooting death of his "close friend" Demareo Bost. On Thursday, Stockdale pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and received a suspended sentence and three years supervised probation.
Stockdale pleaded guilty to the charge as part of an Alford Plea, where the defendant does not admit guilt, but acknowledges that he could be convicted if the case went to trial.
Sentencing in the case was up to the court.
According to police, officers were called to 312 Oakwood Avenue around 10:16 p.m. on February 17 of this year in reference a domestic disturbance. While on the way, officers received further information that shots had been fired and that CPR was being performed on Bost, who later died at the scene.
In court on Thursday, prosecutors admitted that much about that night is not clear. There were several people gathered at the house, they said, including Bost and Stockdale.
At some point Bost became agitated, picked up a knife, and began confronting people, including Stockdale.
Witnesses gave conflicting accounts as to what happened next, but prosecutors say Stockdale shot Bost, and that the medical examiner's report showed that Bost was shot in the back.
One witness said that Bost was heard to say to Stockdale "you shot me, bro," before collapsing on the ground. Stockdale stayed with Bost until EMS and police arrived, and even attempted to do CPR.
Police never found the gun that was used in the crime, described as a .40 caliber handgun.
"Something happened, he got shot in the back, what happened is not known to us," prosecutors said in court. "It's a case that is interesting, but not in a good way."
"Demario Bost and the defendant were very close friends," wrote assistant District Attorney Gregory C. Butler in an email to WBTV following the hearing. "However, the victim got irate about something regarding one of his family members (his sister) and when Stockdale stepped in to calm him down, Bost went off. Bost had at least a .25 blood alcohol content, three (3) times the legal limit. Bost grabbed a knife, threatened several people in the house, cut one person, then chased Stockdale and another male out into the yard. Bost continued to brandish and threaten Stockdale with the knife putting his life at risk."
"There were no eyewitnesses to the actual shooting, but Bost was shot from behind. Except for that fact, there would not have been any charges, as the case would have been one of self-defense. Even still, it is impossible to know exactly what happened. However, of note, Stockdale immediately went to the aid of Bost and stayed with him until Rescue and law enforcement arrived and took over," Butler added.
Several members of the family of Demareo Bost spoke in court, including his sister and mother. Both addressed Stockdale, begging for him to tell them exactly what happened that night.
"You could have gotten in the car and left that night," Bost's sister said.
"You shot my baby in the back," said Bost's mother. "I treated you like a son, I loved you like a son. Can you at least tell me what happened that you had to shoot my baby in the back?"
"I don't know how to forgive you because you took the only son I had," Bost's mother added.
Stockdale's mother also spoke, telling the judge that her son had always provided for her and for other family members, and that he was raised in the church.
"My son is a not a bad person," Stockdale's mother said. "I hate that this situation happened, I wish I could take it all back."
Stockdale also spoke, telling the Bost family that he was sorry for what happened, but not admitting to the shooting.
"It hurts me to my soul to believe I would have hurt their son," Stockdale said. "I did everything I could to try to diffuse the situation. If I could take it back I would. I hope one day you can forgive me for whatever you think I did."
It was also pointed out in court that Stockdale paid to have a headstone erected on the grave of Demareo Bost.
Stockdale could have received up to 59 months in prison as a result of the plea. He was given a suspended sentence of 12-24 months, three years supervised probation, ordered to attend a drug and alcohol treatment program, and ordered to pay $5038 for funeral expenses paid by the Bost family.
"The state did not agree to the sentence, and he faced a possible 19 months to 32 month active sentence," Butler added.