Myles Taylor told a judge Monday that he didn’t mean to kill a 16-year-old who had been fighting with his friend last summer on an East Side street.
But Erie County Judge Michael L. D’Amico sentenced the 15-year-old defendant to 13 years to life in prison, noting that his actions on that day carry consequences.
“You pointed a gun, pulled the trigger and shot him in the back. What did you think was going to happen?” D’Amico said.
The judge said it was another case of guns and violence ending in heartbreak for everyone involved, but especially for the victim’s family. “He’s gone forever,” he said. “There must be consequences.”
A jury last month convicted Taylor of murder for shooting Kelmyne Jawon Jones as Jones walked away after a fistfight that had been sparked by a photo posted on Twitter.
Taylor was 14 at the time of the fatal shooting last July 6 and was charged as a juvenile offender. He had faced a maximum prison sentence of 15 years to life instead of the maximum 25 to life an adult would face.
Taylor will initially serve his sentence at a state Division for Youth facility until he turns 18, then will be transferred to the Elmira Correctional Facility where he will remain until he turns 21. He will then be sent to an adult correctional facility.
Before sentencing, homicide prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable told the judge that Taylor, in a presentencing report prepared by probation officials, still doesn’t take responsibility for what he did that day.
“This was not a random shot he fired,” she said, noting that Taylor shot Jones after Jones had been fighting with his friend in the street that afternoon on Northland Avenue.
“This was a case of a senseless shooting,” she told the judge. “It started as a fistfight, but this defendant took it to a whole different level with his actions.”
Defense attorney Robert J. Molloy said his client does accept responsibility for killing Jones and that he is very sorry.
“The gun was given to him,” Molloy said. “He pointed the gun at people who were running away after the fight. He closed his eyes and fired one shot. He knew what he was doing, but he didn’t intend to kill Mr. Jones.”
Taylor apologized to Jones’ family. “I take full responsibility for what I did,” he said. “I caused his death.” But he added that he didn’t mean to kill Jones and that he wished he could take it all back.
At trial, Taylor’s friend, who is now 17, testified that he was hanging out with Taylor and other teenagers on the friend’s porch when Jones and other youths came walking down the street.
The friend said he met Jones in the middle of the street, and they started fighting over a photo of Jones and three or four other teenagers that was taken on the friend’s porch when he was not home. He said the photo and the caption made him feel disrespected.
He testified that the fight lasted about a minute and that afterwards he saw Taylor shoot Jones. He said Taylor later told him he had shot Jones after Taylor was hit on the back of the head following the fight. Taylor also told the friend that he hid the gun along a fence behind another friend’s house.
That friend testified that Taylor called him about 3 a.m. the next day and asked him if he had the gun and that when the friend said no, Taylor told him he would come and retrieve it.
Police never found the semi-automatic pistol, but they did find a shell casing at the shooting scene and a bullet recovered from the victim’s body.