Sentencing Brings Some Closure to Sisters of Homicide Victim
One of two men charged in a fatal ambush-style shooting on Valentine's Day of 2016, will now spend up to 36 years in prison.
Stacy Pullium and Terri Pacely left the Erie County Courthouse Tuesday morning, with mixed emotions.
Lavance Kirksey, 25, has been sentenced 18 to 36 years in prison, for the shooting death of their brother Jemar Phillips.
"It's just horrible,” said Pullium. “Valentine's Day will never be the same for us."
On Valentine's Day of 2016, investigators say Kirksey is one of two men to ambush Phillips outside of a West 18th Street bar.
Phillips was shot eight times by two separate guns.
One of those weapons was found on Kirksey in a separate incident, linking him to the crime.
"A lot of his life will be in jail,” said Pacley. “We just didn't want to go through everything we went through with the first trial."
Kirksey’s co-defendant, 41-year-old Torriano Beard, was convicted of first-degree murder last January, and sentenced to life in prison with no parole.
Kirksey avoided trial by pleading no contest to third-degree murder, but still maintains his innocence.
A move Phillips' sisters describe as insulting.
"Like I told him to his face, that's what cowards do,” said Pacley. “Plead no contest because you're not man enough to say what you did. It won't come out your mouth, because you're a coward."
With both men now sentenced, Phillips’ sisters say the healing process can begin.
“It's closure,” said Pullium. “We don't have to go through this anymore, and we can just move one."