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Apologetic Traylor gets 25 years in killing; Still faces sentencing in separate slaying

Adrian L. Traylor did a lot of apologizing Monday.

He apologized to the family of the man he helped kill and whose body was burned and abandoned in a field on Smith Street.

Traylor also apologized to the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood he called home and nevertheless helped terrorize for six years.

And finally, he apologized to the judge who sentenced him to 25 years in federal prison for his role in the August 2009 murder of Shawn Kozma.

"It's inhumane, and its stupid," U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny told Traylor on Monday. "A decent kid got wiped out."

Traylor's sentencing -- he pleaded guilty in June to a racketeering and conspiracy charge -- is not the end of his legal problems.

He also faces sentencing in state court on separate manslaughter charges in connection with the killing of Larry Crosland two days earlier. He could get another 25 years in prison on that charge.

Prosecutors acknowledged Traylor's cooperation with police investigating the murders but said the 24-year old's involvement in the killings can't be ignored.

"There are still two deaths and two families who have suffered because of his actions," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel L. Violanti.

From Day One, Traylor has argued that Crosland was an innocent victim killed by bullets fired from a long distance and intended only as a warning to others.

Crosland, 61, was leaving the Monsignor Adamski Apartments on William Street on his way to dialysis when he was gunned down.

Traylor also played a role in the murder of Kozma, an acquaintance whose Traylor's fellow gang members suspected of being a police informant. Kozma was eventually shot and killed in a backyard on Reed Street. His body was burned and dumped in a vacant lot on Smith.

Patrick Brown, Traylor's lawyer, said his client never tried to make excuses for what happened, choosing instead to take responsibility and express remorse.

"That's not something in the past for him," Brown said of Traylor and the killings. "He lives with it every day. He recognizes what he did was the worst possible thing someone can ever do."

Brown and Violanti noted Traylor's extensive cooperation with police and the possibility that his 25-year sentence could be reduced based on further assistance.

Investigators continue to look into the actions of Johnny Rounds, the alleged leader of Traylor's East Side drug gang, and expect new charges.

"He's happy to be burning bridges," Brown said of Traylor, "because he doesn't want to go back to that lifestyle."

email: pfairbanks@buffnews.com