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Nursing assistant gets 35 years for fatally shooting colleague

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | September 12, 2022
Stacey Hayes, has been sentenced to 35 years for fatally shooting Anrae James, 43.
A former nursing assistant has been sentenced to at least 35 years in prison for shooting and killing another NA in October 2021 at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, in Philadelphia.

Stacey Hayes, 55, pleaded guilty on August 31 to third-degree murder charges for fatally shooting 43-year-old Anrae James. He then drove away in a U-Haul, and later engaged in a shootout with police that left him and two officers injured, reported The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Hayes apologized to James’ family and friends in the courtroom. “I won’t ask for forgiveness from y’all because I don’t deserve it. But I am truly, truly, truly sorry for my actions.”

Surveillance video captured Hayes, who was not on duty the night of October 4, walk up to James while he was at work in the hospital and shoot him from behind with an AR-15 assault rifle.

Hayes fired more shots before fleeing, leaving James, who died at the scene. Around 1:25 a.m., a passerby flagged down officers in Parkside, who caught up with Hayes. They told him to drop his gun, and he opened fire on them with nearly 70 rounds. The officers shot back and struck Hayes, who was wearing body armor.

Hayes was hospitalized and charged with murder, attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, and related crimes.

Jefferson officials admitted to waiting too long to inform employees that there was an active shooter in the building, which they said was due to “process deficiencies and human error”.

One officer, Arcenio Perez, told Hayes that he may never regain the full use of his right forearm, which has required several surgeries. “There will not be a moment that I will be free of the damage you’ve caused.”

James’ mother and brother were in attendance. His wife was too distraught to attend the sentencing. Assistant District Attorney David Osborne read aloud a letter she wrote, saying that she was still “in disbelief” and that her kids still break down, asking for their dad.

Hayes’ lawyer, Gary Server, said his client “accepts responsibility, he acknowledges his guilt,” and that the prison term was “effectively a life sentence” that would prevent Hayes from seeking parole until he’s nearly 90 years old.

Hayes declined to reveal what motivated him to shoot James, or why he left the scene and drove several miles.

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