Sentencing begins for road rampage man

CUMBERLAND COUNTY Shareef was found guilty Wednesday for a 2004 road rampage that left one man dead and four others injured.

During the trial, Shareef's lawyers argued that a mental disease caused him to snap. Prosecutors said it was substance abuse and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The jury found Shareef guilty, but on Thursday Shareef's family got a chance to tell jurors more about the man they convicted.

His estranged wife and sister were among those who took the stand.

They portrayed positive pictures of Shareef, as a younger man, but they also acknowledged that he changed over the years. Still, they pleaded with the jury not to choose the death penalty.

"I just pray that you can have it in your heart to understand that he was a good person and he was not like this, this was not him, and I'm sorry," Shareef's estranged wife Talethia Shareef said.

"I have to say that this is the most important day of my life, because I have the opportunity to sit here and ask you please to spare my brother's life and to please not sentence him to death," Shareef's sister Elizabeth Shareef said.

Shareef's estranged wife also read letters from their children.

"I miss you daddy," she read. "Can I see you again? If I can, please write back."

Tears were shed all around, even in the jury box.

The daughter of Lonel Bass also took the stand Thursday. Bass was the only victim killed by Shareef back in 2004.

Angela Barefoot said her father was claustrophobic and it made it hard for her to think of him stuck beneath a van driven by Shareef.

"Knowing that he was down there, by himself, trapped under that van it's just been more than our family has been able to cope with," Barefoot said.

Closing arguments in the case are expected on Monday.

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