$1 for 3 months
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Sherman woman gets 40 years in murder of Denison boy

By Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
Sabrina Nino

Sabrina Nino was 17 back in November of 2017 when a drug deal she entered into with a Denison teen led to the death of that teen's little brother and the injury of another child. Wednesday, Nino, now 20, showed no emotion as she pleaded guilty to her part in the death of Kason Powell.

The plea hearing was held via Zoom with only the judge, his staff and several members of the news media in the courtroom.

Nino, her attorney, and prosecutors all appeared via computer on two large screens set up in the courtroom. For her plea of guilty to one count of murder and one county of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, she received sentences of 40 years and 20 years to run concurrently.

First Assistant Grayson County District Attorney Kerye Ashmore said Nino must serve at least half of her 40 year sentence before she will be eligible for parole.

Nino is not the first person involved with Powell's death to be sentenced to prison. In November, Antonio Prado Jr. was sentenced to life in prison after jurors found him guilty of murder in the child's death.

Testimony in that case revealed that the shooting that happened on November 19,2017  sprang from a drug deal that went horribly wrong when Kason Powell's older brother arranged to purchase marijuana but took the drug without paying instead. The alleged drug dealer, Nino, had received the drugs without paying for them from Prado.

Prosecutors said when Prado learned of the theft, he, Nino and Ryan Clay went looking for the teen who took the drugs.

Testimony revealed that the three found the home where the teen lived, but he was not there. Instead, inside the home were his parents and three younger siblings. Kason Powell was killed and his 11-year-old brother was seriously injured in the shooting. 

Wednesday, Ashmore said Nino and her mother were cooperative from the start of the investigation and that Nino gave them information that led to the two shooters in the case and had offered to testify against both of them.

He said given her willingness to help and other factors, he felt Wednesday's sentence was appropriate because she was not eligible for life without parole because of her age when the shooting happened. 

Nino apologized for her part in the incident Wednesday and said she thinks it is important that she takes responsibility for her part in it. She said she hopes to finish her education in prison and get a job.

She also told Judge Jim Fallon that she suffers from mental health disorders including bi-polar disorder, manic depression and insomnia. She said she is medicated for all of that now and that the conditions did not keep her from understanding her part in what happened to Kason Powell or the court hearing Wednesday. She also said she didn't have any complaints against her attorney in the case Steven Miears 

Without the plea deal, she could have been sentenced up to life in prison on the murder charge alone and was facing a number of other charges which were dropped as part of the plea agreement.

A statement from the Grayson County District Attorney's Office said that Denison police determined that at least eight shots were fired into the house where Kason Powell and his family lived that night in November of 2017. The two children were struck by gunfire as they played or waited to play video games.

"Our office has been working on this case for over three years," Ashmore was quoted as saying in the statement from the District Attorney's Office. "The extradition from Mexico and trial of Antonio Prado Jr., was the first step in this process. Today, we accomplish the second step by holding Sabrina Nino accountable for her role in this tragedy."

In a victim impact statement, Kason Powell's mother Shaneia Smith said forgives Nino and Prado for what they did to her son because that is the only way she can go forward without her only child. She said she he was a lively little boy who never met a stranger and always had a smile.

"He was a beautiful gift from God," Smith told Nino during Smith's victim impact statement. She said the "senseless, irresponsible, selfish, asinine act of violence" that Nino set into motion robbed Kason Powell of all of his future events like graduations, parties and weddings. Those actions also robbed his family of their ability to watch him celebrate those things as well as having the pleasure of watching his daily growth and accomplishments.

That act, Smith said, changed her life forever. But she said, it also took away from Nino's family their ability to watch her continue to grow and do some of those things.