Small consolation Teen takes 15-year plea deal for 2008 murder; family finds it hard to accept short sentence

Bryant Street resident Storm Mandeville, 61, was in his house one night last year when an acquaintance knocked on his door – a young man who later stabbed him numerous times and took the ultimate thing that he had, his life.

For that, Richard Southern, now 19, got 15 years in jail.

He’ll be out when he’s in his 30s – despite committing what most would consider a very cruel murder fueled by crack cocaine.

Family members reported to the Journal that they accept the sentence, but they’re not happy with it, nor are they happy with the judicial system – which has worked more against them than for them.

“He had no remorse,” said Storm’s sister, Debbie Mandeville. “He actually smirked at the family when he looked over at us. The judicial system is unbelievable.

“I don’t know how this person will be rehabilitated in jail,” she continued. “I think he’ll come out more vicious and probably kill more people in his lifetime. I think nowadays things are taken quite lightly when it comes to the loss of a human being’s life. It wasn’t a thing where it was an accident and he stabbed my brother once. He stabbed him multiple times viciously. It’s a vicious thing and I don’t think any of us have gotten over it.”

Southern – who committed an armed robbery at White’s Market a day before the May 22, 2008 murder – had a lengthy record as an adult and as a juvenile, but was allowed to take a plea agreement last Thursday in Boston’s Suffolk County Superior Court.

The second-degree murder charge was dropped to manslaughter and the armed robbery charge was to run concurrently for a total of 15 years.

Under the original charge, Southern could have faced life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years.

In the courtroom, several other family members spoke about the loss of Storm Mandeville.

Brother Mark Mandeville said that he used to frequently have coffee with his brother, or make a call to him to talk about football or life.

“I can’t make that call anymore,” he said in the courtroom. “I just hope that someday Richard Southern can do something good in the world to make up for what he’s done.”

Storm Mandeville was a former Marine who had attended the prestigious North Bennett Street School in the North End. He was also a Mason and known as a very kind-hearted person who shared an avid love for the New York Yankees with his 82-year-old mother.

However, according to the district attorney’s office, Mandeville did have some problems, which led to his knowing Southern.

Had the case proceeded to trial, Assistant District Attorney John Pappas of Conley’s Homicide Unit would have introduced evidence and testimony to prove that Southern went to Mandeville’s home to buy crack cocaine with the intent of shorting the victim by paying him $28 for $40 worth of the drug.

Evidence would have shown that the two consumed drugs together and that a physical confrontation erupted when Southern passed Mandeville the lesser amount of rolled-up cash. In the course of that confrontation, the evidence would have shown, Southern stabbed Mandeville multiple times, killing him. The evidence would have shown that Southern fled the residence, taking a cell phone and tossing the knife used in the homicide.

Revere Police and State Police assigned to Conley’s office, who lead all homicide investigations in the City of Revere, soon learned that Mandeville’s phone had been used after his death. They soon tracked that phone to one of Southern’s friends and ultimately to Southern himself.

Despite those unfortunate circumstances, family members are reminded that their brother was murdered – and murder is murder no matter what the circumstances.

“He’ll have his whole life ahead of him when he gets out,” said Debbie Mandeville. “He’ll be in his 30s and will probably come out and do it again…It sends a bad message to kids that you don’t get much time for robbing and killing. Maybe they even think it’s cool to go to jail for awhile.”

Debbie Mandeville also stressed that the family was not upset with the prosecution or the police, even praising District Attorney Dan Conley’s office and Revere Police Detective Steven Pisano.

“It’s not the prosecutor’s fault, the DA’s fault or the police, but the way the laws are written in this state,” she said. “I think it’s a sin these kids go around murdering and robbing and nothing much happens to them.”

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