A man who pulled a gun and shot into a crowd of people after a fight outside a Buffalo housing complex last summer was convicted Thursday of second-degree murder in the death of a 14-year-old boy and three counts of attempted murder in the wounding of three other teens.
Joseph P. Gant, 29, of Marigold Avenue, faces a possible sentence of 25 years to life for the murder conviction and up to 25 years for each count of attempted murder. He also was convicted of criminal possession of a weapon.
Erie County Court Judge Michael L. D’Amico set sentencing for July 27.
Gant has been in custody since his arrest two days after the Aug. 12 shootings.
Raymond Floyd Patterson III, 14, was shot in the back, arm and leg as he fled when the gunman began firing into a crowd that had gathered to watch two girls fighting. Patterson died on the footbridge over the Kensington Expressway between Langfield Homes and Roosevelt Park. His brother, Dae’Mone Patterson, then 13, and two friends, Austin Neal, then 16, and Ned Rainey Jr., 13, were also struck by the bullets. Those teens have recovered and testified for the prosecution in Gant’s trial.
Gant’s attorneys, Samuel P. Davis and Anthony Pendergrass, called no witnesses for the defense but suggested through cross-examination that their client may have shot in self-defense after being jumped by a group of men and boys while they were watching another fight. There was no testimony that indicated any of the victims were involved in that fight.
After the verdict, District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III said, “It would be absurd to say four people were shot in self-defense.”
Assistant District Attorneys Colleen Curtin Gable and Jack Niejadlik were the prosecutors in the case.
In reaching their verdict, the jurors agreed on the more serious charges against Gant, rather than convicting him of the lesser charges of reckless murder and second-degree assault.