Smiling, smirking, and at one point using his fingers to mimic a gun pointed toward a man he had shot and wounded, Curtis Langlois, convicted of murder and attempted murder, was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without the possibility of ever being released.

At a hearing at which Langlois himself asked Circuit Judge Ellen Berz to put him away for the rest of his life, family members of Kendrith Young, 33, who was shot to death Aug. 2 at a South Side convenience store, confronted Langlois about what he did to them by taking from them a man they loved.

Berz sentenced Langlois, 37, to life without the possibility of parole for killing Young and to a consecutive 40-year prison sentence for wounding Rodney Lemon Jr., who was with Young that night.

Langlois was ejected from the courtroom at one point, after telling Lemon, “Wish I had killed you ...,” as Lemon spoke about the impact the shooting has had on him. Langlois’ outburst sent gasps through the courtroom, and deputies hastily pushed Langlois, who was strapped to a restraint chair, out of the courtroom.

Langlois was allowed back after a short break, agreeing with Berz that he wouldn’t cause any more problems or risk being ejected again.

Langlois killed Young outside the 7-Eleven convenience store, 2703 W. Beltline, and wounded Lemon, after Langlois and another man, Dametrius Reeves, had followed Young and Lemon from a nearby bar. Langlois told police later that he shot Young because Young had been looking at him the wrong way, and because he thought Young had a gun.

Police reports showed that Young did have a gun in his car, but had not threatened Langlois with it.

“When you act like you got a gun on you, and you actually do got a gun on you, and you’re moving around on the seat, what you think I’m gonna do?” Langlois said during his statement in court.

Langlois said he was sorry for his own family that he was going back to prison but had no sympathy for Young or Lemon.

“As far as dude that I killed,” he said, “I don’t have no remorse, I don’t care about it, I don’t think about it, I ain’t lost no sleep over it, nothing.”

He wrapped up by telling Berz to free Reeves, adding, “Long live Curt the Flirt.”

Young’s mother, Karen Young, trembling as she spoke, told Langlois what her son’s death has done to his family.

“I am not able to forgive you at this time, nor will I understand why you did this to us, not just to him,” Young said. “You didn’t just murder my son, you took away a brother, a father, a fiance, a hard worker, a provider, someone you wouldn’t even know about or comprehend what my son was to his family. Your selfishness has ripped my family apart, and changed my mind about capital punishment.”

She said her son “was no angel, but he was my angel,” and thoughts of his death keep her awake at night.

Kendrith Young’s fiancee, Elizabeth Dorman, who was with him for 14 years, said she wasn’t sure at first that she would speak.

“How do you speak to a soul who has no value for his own life, no value in the lives of others, and no remorse for the lives he took,” Dorman said. “I say the ‘lives’ you took because when you made the choice to take the life of my husband, you not only took his life, but all of ours with him.”

She said that Langlois “has shown me what the true depths of hatred feel like. A feeling you will never know until you watch your children lose themselves in pain.”

Lemon, speaking softly and slowly, said at one point: “I almost went to heaven, but they say everything happens for a reason. But you had none, so you say.”

Lemon told Langlois that he was being used, and now is being thrown away. “Sad,” he added, and that was when Langlois told Lemon that he should have killed Lemon as well.

“Thou shalt not kill,” Berz said as she began her comments to Langlois. “It is not only a commandment in Judeo-Christian society, it is the articulation of the fundamental value of life.”

The lesson is being forgotten, she said, as gun violence has become more common locally, for “less and less articulable reasons.”

“The truth of the matter is that morally, legally, no one, no one, has the right to take another person’s life,” Berz said, not even the state, as an expression of anger, hurt or vengeance for the taking of a life.

“We cannot take a life to show that it’s wrong to take a life,” Berz said.

Reeves, 35, who is also charged with first-degree intentional homicide and attempted first-degree intentional homicide, is scheduled for a trial in February. Langlois is also likely to face reinstated federal robbery and gun charges related to crimes in Wausau that happened after the murder in Madison.


Ed Treleven is the courts reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.