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1 convicted, 2 cleared in slaying tied to gang war

An Erie County Court jury found Damien Warren, 23, guilty Wednesday of two charges stemming from a fatal shooting on Sherman Street last March during a war between drug gangs. Two others charged in the shooting were acquitted.

The jury deliberated for about four hours before returning guilty verdicts against Warren, a Sherman Street resident, on charges of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

The jury found co-defendant Nathaniel Williams, 21, of Strauss Street not guilty on the same charges. Williams and Warren hugged each other in court after their verdicts were read, court officials said.

Judge Shirley Troutman found the other co-defendant, Marvin Q. Howard, 24, of East Utica Street, not guilty on the same charges after a nonjury trial. Howard broke down in tears when he heard the verdict, court officials reported.

Prosecutors Kenneth F. Case and Daniel M. Killelea said they will seek the maximum term of 25 years to life in prison for Warren.

The three were accused in the death of Keone Littlejohn, 16, the half brother of Buffalo Police Officer Cedric Littlejohn. Keone was shot in the 400 block of Sherman about 3:45 p.m. March 23, shortly after he ran away from a group home for troubled youths, authorities said.

Eric Young, 23, of Holland Place, testified last week that he saw Warren shooting at Keone and in the company of the others. Young is serving seven months in jail after his guilty plea to a charge of reckless endangerment for coaxing Keone out of a house on Sherman to meet his death.


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