Teen sent to prison for Marijuana-related killing
A Steelton teen has pleaded guilty to murdering a 20-year-old man who tried to steal marijuana from him in 2021.
Steven Roman, 17, pleaded guilty in December to third-degree murder in the killing of Ke’Shawn Carter, and was sentenced to eight to 20 years in state prison.
Roman drove a car to deliver marijuana to Carter on 200 block of Francis L. Cadden Parkway in Swatara Township just before 9 p.m. on Oct. 7. After he arrived at the East Garden Apartments, Carter tried to make away with the marijuana without paying, according to Amy Schwartzl, a Dauphin County prosecutor.
Roman drew a gun in the heat of the moment, she said, and shot Carter twice for the attempted theft. Roman then fled, leaving the marijuana on top of Carter’s body in front of a parked vehicle in the parking lot. Neighbors said they heard a vehicle peeling out of the parking lot after hearing two gunshots.
Prosecutors charged Roman, who was 16 at the time, as an adult in the killing. Schwartzl said the defense tried to decertify him so he could be tried in juvenile court, but a year after Carter’s death, Roman settled for a plea with prosecutors.
In all, Roman pleaded guilty to third-degree murder, possession of a firearm without a license to carry and conspiracy to deliver marijuana. Dauphin County Judge Edward Marsico sentenced him to eight to 20 years in state prison, to run concurrent with the firearm and marijuana sentences.
Taking into consideration Roman’s age, and the circumstances of the case, third-degree murder was the most applicable charge, according to Schwartzl.
“I think the sentence is appropriate and brings justice for what occurred,” Schwartzl said.
Marijuana-related violence is on the rise in Dauphin County, according to Schwartzl—much greater than for drugs like heroin or crack cocaine, for example. A 15-year-old boy in Harrisburg was killed in a marijuana deal gone sour in Harrisburg last year.
The bulk of drug money forfeitures, for example, come from marijuana, and that’s because it is easier to acquire and sell. It is also difficult to overdose on marijuana, so sellers don’t worry about death by drug delivery charges that can come with selling heroin, Schwartzl said.
“There’s just a big market for it,” Schwartlzl said. “It’s a very profitable business.”
At his guilty plea, Roman took full responsibility and said he felt great remorse for his actions, Schwartzl said.
“He was hoping to be able to learn from this and become a productive member of our society,” Schwartzl said.
Schwartzl attributed the speedy resolution of the case to the efforts of Detective Ryan Gartland of the Swatara Township Police.
“They put together a solid case and left no stone unturned in their investigation,” Schwartzl said.