CAMBRIDGE — A 23-year-old Hurlock man was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison Monday, Sept. 12, for his role in the April 2021 murder of Da’Jour Sorrell.
Dorchester Circuit Court Judge Brett Wilson sentenced Da’Yon Lofland to two life sentences — one without the possibility of parole — for first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. An additional 20 years were added on to his sentence for using a firearm in the commission of a violent crime.
The life sentences are the maximum penalties for the two charges.
The case against Lofland stemmed from his involvement in the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Sorrell around 9:30 p.m. on April 5, 2021.
Deputy State’s Attorney Molly Fox, who prosecuted the case, said Lofland and the other three men implicated in the murder — Troy Rose Jr., 20, of Federalsburg; Elijah Jordan, 23, of Cambridge; and Justin Boyce, 22, of Hackensack, New Jersey — met up in Federalsburg during the day on April 5 to form a tentative plan to kill Anthony Harris, whom they had unsettled issues with, but they were unable to find him at his workplace.
While all four men were initially charged with murder, Jordan and Boyce both pleaded guilty to lesser offenses. Trial dates for Rose have been postponed and not reset.
The group later set out to Greenwood Avenue in Cambridge to find Harris, but still couldn’t locate him. However, they did observe Sorrell riding his bicycle on his way home.
Lofland was the only one who “had beef” with Sorrell, Fox said during the trial.
Around 9:30 p.m., Lofland began firing at Sorrell. A total of 11 shots were fired by Lofland and others before Sorrell fled to Gloria Richardson Circle and collapsed in a yard where officers later found him 20 minutes later.
Lofland and three of his friends fled the scene after firing, leaving behind Boyce, who was heavily intoxicated at the time of the shooting. Surveillance footage showed Boyce stumbling around the street.
The responding officers attempted life-saving measures before transporting Sorrell to the University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Dorchester, where he was pronounced dead later that evening. An autopsy determined Sorrell’s death was the result of three gunshot wounds — one of which was a “rapidly fatal wound” that hit multiple internal organs, and his death was ruled a homicide.
Lofland was found guilty on all eight charges following a four-day jury trial in April.
Prior to sentencing, Fox called the case “particularly unfortunate.” Sorrell was doing nothing wrong that night, yet his life was taken by Lofland, she said.
She pointed out Lofland’s long criminal history and addiction issues, and argued that he had not been successful in any program or treatment.
Lofland had no problem killing Sorrell, a fact that made him a threat, a dangerous person — someone who needed to be locked up, Fox added, asking the court to impose the maximum penalty.
Sorrell’s family members made emotional, tear-filled victim impact statements to the court, pleading for justice in sentencing.
Multiple family members emphasized the toll of the grief they’d felt daily since Sorrell’s murder in April 2021. They shared stories and memories of his involvement in their lives and how it pained them to not have another day with him.
Sorrell’s father Andre Sorrell described his son’s murder as a “heinous,” deliberate act that prompted enduring “insurmountable grief” for family and friends.
Sorrell’s mother Milly Ortiz said she’s barely slept since the night her son was murdered in front of his own house. His death shocked and traumatized her family and the surrounding community, and the image of Sorrell fighting for his life never goes away, she said.
Sorrell was a loving kid who came to see his mother every day, and his life was taken away by senseless gun violence and hate, she added.
“He never got a second chance, and I’ll never get my son back again,” Ortiz said.
Lofland’s defense attorney Michelle Moodispaw countered Fox’s claims that Lofland had not done well in rehabilitation programs, saying that he was like a “sponge” in treatment for addictions and trauma and worked hard.
Moodispaw also explained Lofland’s tough upbringing, sharing that he witnessed violence, trauma and abuse at an early age. While he received treatment and medications for mental health issues when he was younger, he resorted to abusing substances to regulate his moods.
Lofland also faced challenges in school and mixed in with the wrong crowds, she said, adding that it seemed to be easier getting in trouble than learning.
Moodispaw urged the court to consider giving Lofland a sentence with an end date, arguing that a harsh or lengthy sentence would not help, but hope for getting out would.
Lofland, who remained fairly quiet throughout the trial and sentencing, briefly addressed the court and Sorrell’s family, apologizing for their loss and the hurt they felt.
Wilson carefully considered the facts, circumstances of the case, the presentencing investigation and victim impact statements before rendering a disposition.
“Sometimes we are certainly sorry for our actions, but sometimes it’s not enough,” he said, adding that apologies won’t bring Sorrell back.
Wilson stated that crimes like this murder were not going to be tolerated, calling them senseless.
He also reflected on Lofland’s violent incidents and anger issues from his high school years. Throughout that time, Lofland saw he could get away with such actions without consequences, and now he was standing in court waiting to be sentenced, Wilson said. He later added that he wished Lofland had a better upbringing.
As Wilson handed down the two life sentences and 20 additional years, Lofland remained calm as Sorrell’s family quietly cried.
“I’m glad justice was served,” Fox said after the sentencing.
Moodispaw filed a notice of appeal of the judgment in Lofland’s case Wednesday. No further action has been taken.