An 18-year-old Burien man was sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison Monday afternoon for killing his girlfriend over an Internet posting.

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An 18-year-old Burien man was sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison Monday afternoon for killing his girlfriend over an Internet posting.

Matthew Dubois was 16 when he shot 15-year-old Mikarah “Tinky” Sanders in the face on New Year’s Eve 2009 over comments another boy had posted on her page, according to court records filed in King County Superior Court.

Dubois — who was wearing an electronic ankle bracelet stemming from a previous arrest — then shot himself in the shoulder and blamed the shootings on a nonexistent gang member, the records say.

The Maleng Regional Justice Center courtroom was packed Monday with young people and relatives of both Sanders and Dubois. The mothers and grandmothers of both the victim and defendant gave powerful, emotional statements, advocating either for a stiff sentence or for leniency and a second chance.

Defense attorney Walter Peale said the shooting was the result of an accidental discharge and Dubois never intended to hurt Sanders — an assertion that Scott O’Toole, the senior King County deputy prosecutor who handled the case, said the state vehemently disputes despite a joint recommendation that Dubois serve 13 3/4 years.

Charged as an adult, Dubois entered an Alford plea in August. Though he did not admit guilt, the plea was an acknowledgment that a jury would likely find him guilty of second-degree murder and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

Dubois, who had faced a maximum sentence of 22 years in prison, will be placed on community supervision for three years after his release.

Sanders was remembered as an outgoing, fun-loving girl who took sign-language classes, sang in her church choir and traveled to India and Malaysia with her grandmother as part of a youth-ministry trip.

“You shot her point blank with no remorse,” lied about it and put “every young black man in the community at risk” as police searched for a fictitious gunman, said Sanders’ mother, Zakiya Sanders. “There’s no reason to feel sorry for Matthew … A gangster thug is what he wanted to be.”

Mozelle Dubois, the defendant’s mother, also addressed the court, referencing a friendship between the two families that was destroyed by the shooting and caused a rift in the larger African-American community as people felt forced to choose sides.

“This is hard for everybody and I know you hurt, Zakiya, I know you’re hurt and your family’s hurt and I’m sorry,” she said. “I love you like I did before this. I’m not condoning what my baby did … but for you to take his entire life isn’t fair.”

In November 2009, Dubois had been released from the King County Juvenile Detention Center, where he was being held on an assault charge, and placed on electronic-home monitoring despite repeated objections from prosecutors.

Just after 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2009, sheriff’s deputies responded to a 911 call at Dubois’ apartment at 12445 Ambaum Blvd. S.W., in Burien, charging papers say. The deputies were told that two people had been shot and that the gunman had fled, the papers say.

In Dubois’ bedroom deputies found Sanders face down on a bed, according to charging documents. She’d been shot at close range in the left cheek with a .357-caliber Taurus handgun, which later was found under a stairway at the apartment complex, the papers say. She died at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center early the next morning.

Dubois has a juvenile criminal history, including residential burglary, theft and unlawful possession of a firearm, according to court records.

Sanders’ family, which already has filed a complaint against King County, intends to file a lawsuit claiming officials with the King County Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention didn’t properly supervise Dubois and failed to take action when he’d previously violated conditions of his release, attorney James Bible said.

Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.

Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or