LOCKPORT - Identical twins received identical prison sentences Thursday for gunning down a Niagara Falls man last year.
Deon K. McTyere and Keon D. McTyere, 22, each will serve what the victim’s mother called “a measly little 20 years” for killing of Fajri J. Hilson, 31, on Aug. 22 as Hilson sat in a parked car outside Max’s Lounge on Highland Avenue in the Falls.
The sentencing had been delayed a week because of prosecution claims that the brothers had threatened three police officers investigating previous cases, and that they were gang members. No testimony was taken on that. The prosecution said it had confirmed the threats and was unable to present information about gangs because it came from confidential sources.
Deon’s attorney, Andrew C. LoTempio, denied there was any gang called the “Eighth Street Boys” to which the twins belonged, and dismissed the threats as “just nonsense, someone shooting their mouth off.”
Sheila Hilson, the dead man’s mother, called the delay “a waste of time.”
“I don’t wish any ill feeling on them, but if something happens, I’m not going to be sad,” the victim’s mother said.
Fajri Hilson was shot 10 times with two different weapons from opposite sides of the vehicle.
Deon’s attorney, Andrew C. LoTempio, said the shooting came after Deon entered Hilson’s car and got into an altercation with him. He said the two struggled over a gun and Deon left the car with it before opening fire.
Deputy District Attorney Holly E. Sloma said there’s no evidence to support that version of events except for “the defendant’s self-serving statements.”
“They (the twins) agreed justification did not apply, that he (Deon) went too far, and manslaughter was the appropriate plea,” LoTempio said.
Keon, who also had a gun, said he got involved because “I felt like he was in danger.”
LoTempio said Deon had been involved in “low-level drug sales,” and Hilson had drug charges pending against him at the time of his death.
LoTempio said Hilson’s nickname indicated his drug involvement.
That nickname, “Joey Crack,” derived from Hilson’s childhood, according to his furious cousin, Michelle Clark. “Yes, my cousin was not the best person,” Clark told reporters, “but my cousin never put 10 bullets in anyone.”
Asked if she was relieved to have the case over with, Clark replied, “The relief is, these thugs will be off the street for 20 years.”
Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon said, “This is an awful, awful case. Two mothers are grieving. The difference is, one will get her sons back. The other won’t. This was senseless, I’m going to say stupid, and just awful.”
LoTempio said the prosecution case rested on two witnesses, one of whom had been a witness in a federal drug case in which he recanted his story, and another who was cooperating with the District Attorney’s Office in a drug case. Sloma said the prosecution had turned that information over to the defense.
Keon’s attorney, David J. Mansour, said, “There were 50 or 60 (people) outside on this summer night, and the people have two witnesses, one obviously is unreliable, who made statements.”
Both defense attorneys remarked on the respectful way the twins had conducted themselves around them and in court. Sheldon agreed that they had shown good manners, but she commented, “You appear to be fine young men, but when you scratch the surface, there’s something not quite right there.”