This morning, twenty-two year old Jukumu Reels-Felder held his infant daughter for the first time and became a convicted felon.
Reels-Felder, of Mashantucket, pleaded guilty in New London Superior Court to taking part in the beating and stabbing of 18-year-old Tomar Gibson in Norwich on June 8, 2012.
Judge Susan B. Handy will sentence him to up to three years in prison on July 22.
At the request of defense attorney William Gerace, the judge allowed Reels-Felder to briefly hold his three-week old daughter, who was placed in his arms by a family member.
“This is why you have to stop this,” the judge told Reels-Felder, who also had pending cases in Mashantucket tribal court.
Reels-Felder’s brother, 21-year-old Sequoya C. Reels-Felder was the actual stabber, according to court testimony. His case is pending in the same court.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit in the case, the brothers had a long-standing dispute with the victim from when they attended Ledyard High School together.
Gibson suffered multiple stab wounds in the leg and buttocks but was not cooperative with the police investigation.
According to the court document, Gibson and a friend were walking on Cliff Street when the two brothers approached in a 2012 Ford Explorer driven by Jukumu Reels. Witnesses said Reels struck Gibson in the back of the legs with the vehicle, knocking him to the ground. Reels and Reels-Felder exited the vehicle, and Reels-Felder stabbed Gibson with a knife, according to the witnesses. The two men got back in the car and drove away.