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Detroit man sentenced for fatally shooting nephew during argument over Thanksgiving food

James Graham accused of shooting Freeland Pridgen

DETROIT – A Detroit man was sentenced to 18 years in prison Wednesday in connection with the November murder of his 16-year-old nephew during an argument at a home in the 9100 block of Ward Avenue on the city's west side.

James Graham is accused of pulling the trigger and killing his nephew, Freeland Pridgen during the argument. Graham was in court Wednesday to learn his sentence and hear from Pridgen's mother, who described the pain she still goes through.

Lena Pridgen gave an emotional speech in court after waiting 159 days for a judge to sentence the man who killed her son.

"At the end of the day, Mr. Graham picked a gun up and killed my 16-year-old baby," Pridgen said. "I tell my son every day there is supposed to be two safe havens: My house and grandmamma's. So I need to know, where is my son safe at?"

Graham's attorney told the judge Graham was sorry for an argument that got out of control the day after Thanksgiving last year at the boy's grandmother's house. Family members said the fight began over food, and eventually, Graham got a shotgun from another room and shot Freeland in the head.

Through his attorney, Graham said he loved his nephew.

"I'm not mad, but I'm hurt, and I will never forgive Mr. Graham in my life," Pridgen said. "It's not my fault Mr. Graham pulled the trigger on my son, my baby, my only son. What do I have right now?"

In the end, the judge sentenced Graham to 18 years in prison.


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