More than a year after admitting that he killed a man in a small East Side park in 2015, a Buffalo teenager has been sentenced to prison.
Floyd Johnson, 19, attempted to withdraw his guilty plea to manslaughter before his scheduled sentencing last year. Acting State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia denied his motion and on Tuesday sentenced Johnson to 20 years in prison followed by five years post-release supervision.
Asked if he would like to speak before he was sentenced, Johnson declined to apologize to the victim’s family but said, “I’m sorry I’m not going to be with my family.”
Johnson was 17 years old when he killed Deon’Dra Lamar Smith, 20, on June 6, 2015. Smith was shot on Sherman Street, between Sycamore and Genesee streets. He was charged with second-degree murder before agreeing to plead to manslaughter.
Angie Z. Kinney, Smith’s aunt, asked the judge for a term that was fair and just.
“Nobody lives a perfect life,” Smith said. “This heinous thing that was done, it fractured both our families.”
She pointed out that Smith was the father of two children and had been a good son. She also said her family realizes that Johnson’s mother also will be losing her son while he is in prison.
“We forgive him. We forgive him for what he’s done,” Kinney said. “I’m not going to ask him why, because maybe he doesn’t know why.”
The shooting appears to have resulted during an unexpected encounter. Neither Smith nor Johnson was living in Buffalo at the time. Smith had moved to Warren, Ohio, and it is believed he was in the city to see his children.
Johnson was in Buffalo on an unsupervised weekend furlough from his assignment to the Gustavus Adolphus Family Services residential treatment center in Jamestown. He was sent there from Family Court after a conviction as a juvenile offender on another charge.
Prosecutor Gary W. Hackbush previously said Johnson told other teens at the treatment center that he was responsible for the shooting.
Defense attorney Jeremy Schwartz asked the judge to consider his client’s young age in deciding on a sentence, saying that it is hard to predict what kind of person he would be when he was released from prison and noting that his parents were hardworking people who would be supportive of him.
When he accepted the plea last year, Buscaglia committed to a sentencing range of between 18 and 23 years.
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