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Weapons conviction nets Buffalo man five years in prison

A Buffalo man convicted in April of second-degree murder for a fatal shooting next to Sperry Park in 2016 was sentenced Tuesday to five years in prison on an unrelated weapons charge.

Jaylin Wiggins, 20, pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal possession of a weapon in June, after he robbed another man of his cash, cellphone and car on Heath Street at about 3 a.m. on Feb. 22, 2016.

Erie County Court Judge Michael F. Pietruszka sentenced Wiggins to five years in prison and five years of postrelease supervision.

In April, a jury convicted Wiggins of murdering a 21-year-old Buffalo man on Aug. 4, 2016, on a sidewalk near the East Side’s Sperry Park.

“I’m not the same,” Wiggins said in court Tuesday. “I’ve got a son now.”

Defense attorney Leigh Anderson focused on Wiggins’ childhood during the sentencing hearing.

Jaylin Wiggins was found guilty of the Aug. 4, 2016, murder of Laron Watkins.

She told the judge Wiggins was unable to escape a life of neglect and hardship growing up, and was “remorseful” for his actions.

“His mother was murdered, and he was just a little boy,” Anderson said of Wiggins.

Anderson said Wiggins’ father, after being released from a federal prison, won custody of Wiggins and his sister in a court battle with their grandmother.

The father moved the children to South Carolina, but was separated from his children by state officials, Anderson said.

Assistant District Attorney John P. Gerken Jr. requested the maximum prison sentence of 15 years.

“There is nothing innocent about Jaylin Wiggins,” Gerken told the judge.

Gerken linked the sentencing to Wiggins’ murder case, saying Wiggins had guns to “snuff people out.”

“This is not your typical gun case,” Gerken said.

Pietruszka noted that Wiggins pleaded guilty to weapons charges as a juvenile. If Wiggins had been an adult during those pleas, he would have been considered a persistent violent felon Tuesday.

“I take responsibility for stuff I did as a kid,” Wiggins said.

No sentencing date is set for Wiggins’ murder case.

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