A homeless repeat violent offender was sentenced on Tuesday to 21 years in prison for the shooting death of 47-year-old Robert Hildebrand.
Jason Shontee, 53, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and other charges and received the maximum sentenced allowed according to a plea deal struck before his murder trial was to begin.
Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Mary Huffman followed the recommendation of prosecutors, who asked for 21 years. That included consecutive sentences of 11 years for voluntary manslaughter, seven for being a repeat violent offender and three for having weapons under disability.
“I couldn’t be happier. I couldn’t,” said Tracey Jones, who said that Hildebrand was her best friend. “That man (Shontee) took a good person away and I just wanted to make sure he got the justice he deserved.”
Prosecutors said Shontee and Hildebrand — the maintenance man at Terrace View Apartments on North Smithville Road — had an ongoing feud that ended with Shontee firing four shots at Hildebrand on June 13, 2016.
Montgomery County assistant prosecutor Lynda Dodd said Shontee was storing stolen property in a vacant apartment he was squatting in and that Hildebrand wouldn’t let him retrieve it.
“Robert Hildebrand wouldn’t let him back in unless he was escorted by law enforcement, which was the right thing to do,” said Dodd, adding that she was pleased by the sentence. “This was a senseless act of violence.”
Shontee, who has previous convictions for aggravated robbery and attempted felonious assault, said he was sorry and that everything happened so fast.
“If I could take it all back, I’d take it back in a minute,” Shontee said. “It just all happened so fast. I was angry. He was angry. It’s still no reason for it to happen, but it just happened and I apologize to the victim’s family.”
Jones disputed Shontee’s claim. “There was nothing fast about it,” she said, citing earlier threats Shontee made to Hildebrand, including two 911 calls made by Hildebrand in the days leading up to the shooting. “To me, it was premeditated.”
A prosecutors’ sentencing memorandum said Hildebrand continued care-taking for the apartments even after the owner died and the building fell into foreclosure.
“He hoped to potentially continue his job for a new owner, but his dream was to purchase the building,” prosecutors wrote. “If he owned the property he hoped to offer a low rental rate to help others who were struggling to get back on their feet.”
The memo said a search of Shontee’s phone showed he was enamored with guns, posing with several including the one he used to kill Hildebrand.
“Defendant has neither been reformed nor does the looming threat of prison deter his conduct,” the memo said. “He has demonstrated by his conduct here that he has no regard for the lives of others.”