Back in September 2013 in Dallas, Texas, a senseless crime was perpetrated against Donald Maiden, Jr. The 8-year-old was celebrating his birthday and playing tag. Apparently, this angered 46-year-old Brian Cloninger who had been seen brandishing a gun earlier in the day. As Donald came near his vehicle, Cloninger shot the child in the face. The little boy ran screaming into his house.
Bystanders asked Cloninger if he shot the little boy and he responded, “Yes, I shot him … because I wanted to.”
Last week, Cloninger went on trial for the September 2013 crime and stated that he had no memory of the shooting because he was drunk and high on prescription drugs. He also stated that the reason he was in the neighborhood was to have sex with a transsexual prostitute because he was depressed and had recently lost his job. Cloninger testified during the trial, “I do not ever recall seeing Donald, a child. I don’t remember picking up the gun. I don’t remember firing the gun. I don’t remember setting the gun back down. I wish I could sit here and tell you I did. It would clear a lot of things up. I don’t ever remember being out of the vehicle.”
But Donald and his mother will always remember that terrible day when Donald’s jaw was partly shot off. Since the tragic shooting, Donald has undergone numerous surgeries and physical therapy. His grandmother, Sharon Locklin, testified at Cloninger’s trial that Donald asked, “Well, Grandma, am I always going to look like this?” and he still lives in fear of Cloninger and has nightmares about the shooting.
Last Friday, Cloninger asked the judge if he could return to his job as a plumber so he could earn money to pay the family of his victim for the medical expenses they have incurred. Cloninger stated, “I just hope that someday the family of Donald can forgive me and I just beg for mercy and the opportunity to get help and possibly become a productive member of society.” The judge instead sentenced Cloninger to 45 years in prison for shooting Donald Maiden.
Donald’s family was pleased with Cloninger’s sentencing. They felt Donald got justice and that with Cloninger in prison, Donald will be able “to grow into his adulthood and become the best man he can be.”