A former Buffalo street gang member was told Tuesday he faces a prison term of 10 to 13 years for supplying the handgun a cohort allegedly used to gun down a rival on an East Side street corner this summer.
Dijon Thomas, 17, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of first-degree manslaughter for his role in the fatal shooting of Jermain Martin, 19, of Shirley Avenue, at Bailey and Stockbridge avenues at about 8 p.m. June 7. Thomas, who now lives in Roseridge, N.C., was living with an aunt in Buffalo at the time.
Thomas, who had faced second-degree murder charges, told State Supreme Court Justice Penny M. Wolfgang he gave the handgun to Gerald Gibson, 18, of Alexander Avenue, Cheektowaga. Authorities say Gibson used it to kill Martin over some dispute they are still trying to pin down.
Prosecutor James F. Bargnesi told the judge that Gibson, who was arrested in Pittsburgh two weeks after the shooting, faces murder charges and will not be able to bargain for a reduced plea after Dec. 2.
Gibson, who had been slated for pretrial hearings in the case Tuesday, was returned to jail following a brief appearance before the judge.
The judge was told the murder victim's family had consented to Thomas' plea deal. However, after Tuesday's proceedings, Martin's mother said she was "really not satisfied because my son is not coming back."
Calling her son "the light of the family" who "didn't deserve this," Rayshonne Stevens decried Buffalo's continuing street violence. She said she hopes both Thomas and Gibson "seek God before it's too late for them."
Though Wolfgang told Thomas he faces a reduced prison term on his manslaughter plea, she warned him that should any further information develop implicating him in local violence, he could be looking at a prison term of up to 25 years.
Thomas was returned to jail pending his Jan. 21 sentencing. Joseph J. Terranova, Thomas' attorney, said his client had a "minor role" in the slaying.