Cuyahoga County

Gunman gets life sentence in murder of 5-year-old



Cleveland – Marlon A. Hackett Jr. could spend up to life in prison for last September’s murder of 5-year-old Ramon Burnett, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty announced today.

Ramon, who had just started kindergarten, was playing football outside his home on Louise Harris Drive when gunfire from a passing car erupted on a Friday afternoon at the start of the Labor Day holiday weekend. Paramedics rushed the child to MetroHealth Medical Center where he died.

Cleveland Police almost immediately named Hackett, then 19, as the main suspect. Evidence indicates that he and Malik M. Norman intended to shoot at another man who was outside that afternoon, but that Hackett’s bullet hit Ramon instead.

On June 17, Hackett entered a plea of guilty to one count of Murder with a five-year gun specification.

Today, Cuyahoga Common Pleas Court Judge David T. Matia sentenced Hackett to life in prison with first parole eligibility in 20 years.

Norman, 20, has pled guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter with a three-year gun specification. Evidence shows he intended to join in the shooting, but that his gun jammed. His sentencing is scheduled for August 10 in front of Judge Matia.

Two other occupants of the car also have entered pleas of guilty: Demetric C. Croskey, 21, to one count of Obstructing Justice; and Richard D. Fields, 19, to one count of Obstructing Official Business. Both Hackett and Norman told investigators that neither Croskey nor Fields participated in the shooting.

"Ramon Burnett should be enjoying his summer and getting ready to go into first grade, but instead his life was taken during a senseless and cowardly act," said Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Brian Radigan, who represented the State of Ohio in this case along with Assistant

Prosecuting Attorney Anna Faraglia. "Marlon Hackett is facing life in prison which he richly deserves, but the family of Ramon Burnett has a worse sentence: Life without the child they loved."

Contact: Joseph Frolik, Director of Communications and Public Policy. Phone: 216.443.7488 or Email: