Myron M. Maclin’s family was looking for peace and closure Tuesday. That was the most they could hope for when they went to court to witness the sentencing of the troubled young man who killed Maclin while in the throes of a drug-induced delusion Sept. 4, 2014.
Whatever the judge decided, they already knew that nothing would fill the empty space at their table, Maclin’s uncle said.
As it turned out, Kevin FitzRandolph, 23, who was convicted of second-degree murder in the fatal stabbing, eventually may have a chance to rebuild his own life. Erie County Judge Michael F. Pietruszka pronounced an indeterminate sentence of 18 years to life in prison, less than the maximum of 25 years to life.
The sentence came after the judge denied a defense motion to have the verdict overturned and after Maclin’s uncle, Patrick A. Cray, delivered a heartfelt statement on behalf of the family.
Cray, a retired Buffalo police officer, described his nephew, who was 40 when he died, as someone whom people liked to be around – friendly, trustworthy and helpful.
“Sometimes when we come together, there is a shortage of men,” Cray said. “Myron was always there. He was going to be one of those older men at the family table.”
Cray told of the importance of bringing up young men to be like Maclin, who always was inquisitive and eager to learn.
And Cray also reached out to FitzRandolph’s family, saying that a connection now exists between them because of their mutual tragedy. He said Maclin’s mother would like them to reach out in return.
“We are trying to fill that space at our table,” Cray said.
Maclin, who had two children of his own, met FitzRandolph for the first time just a few hours before he was killed, having gone out for a little bit after spending time moving to a new apartment.
FitzRandolph had dropped out of college, had been in and out of rehab and was living in a drug treatment house. He had begun experiencing symptoms of mental illness a few years earlier and started experimenting with drugs. The night of Maclin’s death, FitzRandolph had taken a variety of drugs, including LSD, marijuana and cold medicine.
One of Maclin’s family members said Tuesday that Maclin, who also worked with the homeless, had called his girlfriend that night and mentioned that he was talking to a young man who seemed to be really high. Maclin thought he might be able to help him.
A public security camera tells the rest of the story. The two men are seen walking together down Main Street, with FitzRandolph’s arm lightly across Maclin’s shoulders. They stop, and it later was learned that Maclin had casually taken out a pocketknife. FitzRandolph got the knife and ran at Maclin, stabbing him in the chest and then lowering him to the sidewalk.
FitzRandolph then summoned help and would later tell police and rescue personnel that he had stabbed his “father” so he couldn’t rape his mother, and they were in another dimension. FitzRandolph has been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder.
At trial, defense attorney John K. Jordan tried to prove that FitzRandolph’s mental illness made him incapable of understanding his actions, but the judge ruled that the defendant knew that his actions would result in the victim’s death, even if he didn’t know who the victim was.
The indeterminate sentence of sentence of 18 years to life means that FitzRandolph would be eligible for parole after 18 years but that, if ever released, he will remain under supervision for the rest of his sentence.