YOUNGSTOWN - As family members sobbed continually, a pair of teens were sentenced to 28 years to life in prison Wednesday for the murder last June of a South Side teen.
Mahoning County Common Pleas Court Judge Maureen Sweeney handed down the sentences for DeAndre McCreary, 16, and Rayshawn Royal, 17, a day after a jury convicted the pair of aggravated murder and aggravated robbery in the June 18, 2011, shooting death of 16-year-old Brandon Adkins.
Adkins was shot at a home on South Avenue on the South Side, but no one is sure what brought the shooting on, Assistant Prosecutor Rob Andrews said. There were reports that McCreary and Royal were upset because one of them had a gun taken away at a party, but why they lashed out at Adkins, no one knew, Andrews said.
''There was no allegation Brandon Adkins provoked (the shooting),'' Andrews said.
The prosecutor asked for the harshest possible sentence, which is life without parole.
Adkins' mother, Irene, read from a prepared statement, saying she felt for the mothers of the defendants and that something needs to change to keep guns away from young people.
''No words can express what these three families are going through right now,'' Irene Adkins said. ''This wasn't easy for any of us. It was all children in this case, and being a mother, I understand. I pray for these two boys. I pray for their salvation and I pray for God to restore them.''
Anthony Meranto, McCreary's lawyer, asked for a lenient sentence for his client, saying that the eyewitness testimony was unreliable and that his client was so young that he deserves to have a second chance.
''Every day I'm getting sick of it, these kids with guns,'' Meranto said. ''Where do these guys just go out and get guns? I don't know.''
Jeffrey Limbian, who represented Royal, also said his clients were too young to realize what they were facing.
''These are young boys who should be going to proms and college instead of going to prison,'' Limbian said.
Without comment, Sweeney sentenced both teens to 25 years to life in prison, with an additional three years tacked on for a specification that a firearm was used to commit the crime. She also gave them sentences of 10 years for aggravated robbery, but ran that sentence concurrently with the murder sentence.