Share this article

print logo

Imprisoned killer gets extra time in shooting, paralyzing of teen girl

Damone Lewis is already serving a life prison sentence for fatally shooting a man in August 2012 to collect a $2,500 bounty.

On Thursday, he was ordered to serve an additional 10 years for another shooting later that month that paralyzed a 15-year-old girl who had gotten into a fight with one of his girlfriends.

Erie County Judge Sheila A. DiTullio sentenced Lewis, 19, of Gibson Street, to the extra prison time for shooting Angelica Soto at Walden and Wood avenues.

“You’re a coward and a thug, and you clearly have no remorse,” DiTullio told Lewis.

“You clearly are a threat to the community,” she added. “You would shoot anyone, and you couldn’t care less.”

The shooting happened about 15 minutes after Angelica and some other girls had an altercation with Lewis’ girlfriend. At one point, prosecutors said, Angelica asked the girlfriend if she was going to get “your boyfriend to shoot me now.”

Lewis arrived. “Did you jump my girl?” he asked Angelica, who told him she didn’t think he would do anything. But he fired at her five times, including three times as she lay on the ground, prosecutors said. She was struck twice.

As Lewis fled the scene, he said, “I don’t give a (expletive) about nobody,” according to court records.

Shortly after the shooting, Angelica identified Lewis as the gunman, and he was apprehended by the U.S. Marshals Service three months later.

In September 2013, Lewis pleaded guilty to shooting Angelica. But at his sentencing in January 2014, she changed her story and said Lewis was not the shooter.

“As I’m looking at him now, that’s not the boy that shot me,” Angelica, who is paralyzed from the waist down and was in the courtroom in her wheelchair, told DiTullio then. “From the minute he walked in the door, I looked at him, and that’s not him.”

DiTullio adjourned the sentencing, and Lewis’ attorney, Joseph A. Agro, filed a motion to withdraw the plea.

Last May, DiTullio granted the motion, based on Angelica’s statement at sentencing.

Prosecutors opposed the motion, arguing that Lewis had tried to intimidate Angelica, that she didn’t want to come to court for sentencing and became frightened when she saw Lewis and his parents in the courtroom.

When homicide detectives re-interviewed her a few days later, prosecutors said, she reasserted her identification of Lewis as the shooter and admitted that she had been scared at sentencing. She also indicated that she would testify against him at trial.

Last month, Lewis again admitted shooting Angelica and pleaded guilty to attempted murder, first-degree assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

The plea came six months after he was convicted of second-degree murder in the bounty shooting of Jeremy Thomas on Aug. 8, 2012, on Sumner Place. Thomas, 21, died two weeks later.

Justice Penny M. Wolfgang sentenced Lewis in September to 20 years to life in prison.

At Thursday’s sentencing, Lewis’ new attorney, David R. Addelman, told DiTullio that his client did not intend to paralyze Angelica when he shot her.

Lewis said he wanted to apologize to Angelica for what he did, but she was not in the courtroom for sentencing.

After sentencing, Assistant District Attorney James F. Bargnesi, chief of District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III’s Homicide Bureau, said the sentence was appropriate, calling Lewis a danger to the community.

He cited Buffalo homicide detectives for helping secure convictions in both the murder and attempted murder cases, despite Lewis’ efforts “to terrorize those around him.”