Niagara County Judge Peter L. Broderick Sr. sentenced killer Javon M. Ridgeway on Thursday to 50 years to life in prison.
Ridgeway reacted with an obscene gesture.
The Niagara Falls resident, who shot his ex-girlfriend to death and shot and wounded her cousin, leaving her a paraplegic, drew the maximum sentence for the 14 counts on which a jury convicted him June 1.
"You deserve the maximum," Broderick said.
That was followed by Ridgeway's gesture as he slouched in his chair at the defense table.
"You can raise your finger to me," the judge responded, "but that's the truth."
"I was a happy woman. He deserved [the maximum]," said Linda Streeter of Niagara Falls, the mother of Lanerra M. Streeter, 25, who was killed as she lay on the floor of her Ninth Street apartment in the early hours of Sept. 9.
After telling Streeter, "If you ain't gonna be with me, you ain't gonna be with anybody. Tell that to your God," and shooting her in the head, Ridgeway turned the gun on Nichole Nabors, 25, of Buffalo, who was sitting on the couch. The Navy veteran survived despite a bullet lodged in her spine.
Nabors, who was the star witness in the trial, was a poised accuser as she sat in her wheelchair and spoke to Ridgeway while he stared at the table, a bored look on his face.
"Contrary to what most might think, today is not a happy day for me," Nabors said. "It's sad to see someone waste his life. . . . Because [Streeter] wasn't your girlfriend, Lanerra's dead, I'm in a wheelchair, and you're going to spend the rest of your life behind bars. It doesn't make any sense."
She continued, "That night when you shot me and you ran out the door, I reached for my cell phone [to call 911], and I prayed for you. I said, 'God have mercy on your soul.' What kind of mark did you leave behind? That you're a killer? That you shoot people? You are a disgrace."
Broderick told Nabors, "He attempted to destroy your life, but he didn't. With the character and the courage I saw from you, you're going to walk again."
"Amen," responded many of about two dozen friends and relatives of the victims.
"I'm very proud of my daughter," said Nichole's mother, Annette Nabors of Buffalo. "After he shot her, left her for dead, she was praying for him, and she's yet praying for him."
As Annette Nabors followed her daughter out of the courtroom, she and Ridgeway briefly exchanged words.
Linda Streeter, who is raising her daughter's three sons, ages 11, 8 and 6, took a different tack in her remarks to Ridgeway. Wearing a T-shirt and photos of her daughter printed on it, she pounded her fist on the front panel of the jury box as she shouted, "He ain't nothing but a devil in disguise! . . . He don't deserve to live, but God will take care of that."
When asked by Broderick whether he wanted to speak, Ridgeway said, "Not at all."
As he was led out of the courtroom past family and friends of the victims, Ridgeway flashed a big grin.
Assistant Public Defender Christopher A. Privateer made no statement about the sentencing, restricting his comments to trying to delete some statements made by Rita Streeter, the dead woman's sister, and Niagara Falls Detective Capt. Ernest Palmer in the presentencing report by the Probation Department. Privateer said that there were several allegations of uncharged offenses by Ridgeway that could not be substantiated and objected to Palmer's saying Ridgeway "was running around threatening to kill everyone in the city" and calling him "a complete sociopath." Broderick deleted some of the statements, but not the part about Ridgeway being a sociopath.
"I've worked in the criminal-justice system for 40 years," the judge said. "I don't think I've ever seen an event that was so vicious and coldblooded."
Assistant District Attorney Lisa M. Baehre said, "Obviously, we couldn't ask for a better sentence. He should never walk the streets -- ever. He's the most violent, vicious person I've ever confronted in my career."
Ridgeway faces another trial Aug. 20 on charges he shot a man Sept. 2 who allegedly owed him $6,500 for drugs.