The man who helped orchestrate an armed robbery and home invasion that led to the 2010 killings of four people, including a toddler, stood before a Suffolk Superior Court judge at his sentencing Friday and said he wanted to apologize to the victims’ families.
Judge Christine McEvoy motioned to the half-dozen relatives sitting behind him. Perhaps, she said, he should address his remarks directly to them.
Kimani Washington, dressed in a white dress shirt and tie, turned around and looked at them.
“I wanted to humbly apologize for my part in the crime,” he said pleadingly, holding out his hands as far as the handcuffs around his wrists would allow. “I never intended for anyone to get killed.”
Several of them lowered their heads and wept. The stepmother of murder victim Simba Martin, 21, who was ordered by Washington to strip naked at gunpoint, buried her face in her hands.
“I really, wholeheartedly, from the bottom of my heart wish you didn’t have to go through this,” he continued softly. “Thank you for listening.”
Martin’s stepmother, Algeria Marsh, said later that the apology “doesn’t change anything; it doesn’t bring back anyone.”
“Who knows if it’s really sincere?” she said.
Washington pleaded guilty to six charges connected to the killings, including armed home invasion, carjacking, and armed robbery.
McEvoy sentenced Washington to 16 to 18 years in prison for his role, approving a plea agreement his lawyer, John Salsberg, had struck with prosecutors in the months following the shootings, which became known as the Mattapan massacre.
Washington made the deal in exchange for his testimony against his cousin Edward Washington, 33, and Dwayne Moore, 35, who was convicted last month in the killings. Edward Washington was acquitted during the first trial in March.
“This is a horrible case, a tragic case,” McEvoy said. “I’m cognizant of the importance to the government of the testimony of Kimani Washington.”
Washington, a stocky, bald 37-year-old with a long history of drug dealing and gun possession, admitted to planning the armed robbery with Moore, whom he met in prison, and his cousin.
Kimani Washington told police that he went with the two men to rob Martin, a drug dealer, at his house on Sutton Street. Outside the house, they found Martin inside a Ford Edge with another man, Marcus Hurd, who had come to buy marijuana.
Washington ordered the men to take off their clothes, then ushered them inside, where Martin’s 21-year-old girlfriend, Eyanna Flonory, was staying with her 2-year-old son, Amanihotep Smith. On the couch was Martin’s friend, 22-year-old Levaughn Washum-Garrison, who was spending the night.
Washington said he and the other men stole cash, crack cocaine, and a brand-new television set. He then took off in Hurd’s rented sport utility vehicle, only to learn later that Moore and his cousin had marched the victims up to Woolson Street, then shot them all. Hurd was the only survivor and was left paralyzed from the neck down.
Moore’s lawyer, John Amabile, has called Kimani Washington the real killer, a man who swindled prosecutors and police so he could avoid life in prison.
In court Friday, Edmond Zabin, the prosecutor in the case, called the police investigation “one of the most comprehensive, meticulous, and methodical investigations ever done” in the city.
“What was realized in that investigation is that what Kimani Washington told police about his own role [in the crime] was corroborated,” Zabin said.
Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said Kimani Washington had long ago told prosecutors that he wanted to apologize to the families.
“He was sincerely apologetic and sorrowful,” Conley said.
Zabin told McEvoy that none of the families wanted to make an impact statement, public pronouncements of the effects of defendant’s actions that are made before sentencing. Hurd, who testified in both trials, also declined to speak before the court.
Patricia Washum-Bennett, mother of Washum-Garrison, stayed away Friday. She said she did not see the point of trying to protest the sentence, which she felt should have been life in prison.
“They all should have got the same sentence,” she said in a phone interview. “It was a senseless killing.”
She said she did not believe her words would have altered the outcome.
“There’s nothing more that can be done,” said Washum-Bennett. “They already cut a deal. [Kimani Washington] gave up what he was supposed to, and now they have to do what they have to do.”
McEvoy said she would give Washington credit for the two years he has already served in jail, awaiting resolution of his case. That means Washington could be free in 14 to 16 years.
Zabin said Washington will serve out his sentence in a prison outside Massachusetts, where no one will know him and where he will be in less danger from prisoners who would harm him for testifying on behalf of the prosecution.
Maria Cramer can be reached at MCramer@globe.com.