CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) - The gunman who opened fire and killed a teenager in front of a crowd at Cheektowaga Town Park will serve the maximum time for his crime.
Nineteen-year-old Dontre Jones received a 25 year sentence for the manslaughter of 19-year-old Ira Watkins. Jones was also sentenced 15 years for criminal possession of a weapon, which will be served concurrently, and five years post release supervision.
In court Monday, Jones' attorney tried to adjourn the sentencing because of recent allegations about three teachers who allegedly interfered with the investigation.
Watkins' family pleaded with the judge Monday for Jones to receive the maximum sentence, which he was given.
About 150 people were in Cheektowaga Town Park when Watkins was killed by the basketball court two years ago. The whole situation started with a water balloon fight a couple hours earlier, which then turned into a showdown between rival gangs. The victim was trying to diffuse the situation.
Prosecutor James Bargnesi said,"When the shots were fired, everyone scattered in every direction.”
Attorney Andrew LoTempio said, "There had been problems brewing between young men from Humison Street and Guilford Avenue."
The sentencing comes amid a growing investigation involving three teachers from Cheektowaga Central. It’s over what police are calling inappropriate conversations the trip had with Jones while he was being held in the Erie County Holding Center. Jones was a student in the district at the time.
Cheektowaga Police Chief David Zack said, "There's not a real fine line here. The line wasn't brushed up against, it was crossed over."
Details from the conversations have not been released, but Chief Zack claims they hurt the investigation at the time.A lawyer representing one of the teachers says Jones was simply reaching out to people he viewed as role models. The Cheektowaga School Board is trying to decide whether to fire the teachers.
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