The city teen acquitted in July of two murder counts but convicted on lesser weapons counts was sentenced Monday to 15 years in state prison.
The sentence for 19-year-old Jalil Miles came before his one-time co-defendant in the killing, Michael Capers, 18, rejected a plea deal that would have resulted in him receiving just 10 years in state prison.
With rejection of the deal, jury selection began in Capers case. If convicted of second-degree murder in the killings of Alphonzo Pittman and Virgil Terry, he faces up to 50 years to life in state prison.
Sheila Pittman, mother of Alphonzo Pittman, was allowed to make a victim impact statement at Miles’ weapons sentencing over the objections of Miles’ defense attorney, Michael Horan, who said her son — and therefore she — were not technically victims of the crimes of which Miles was convicted.
She began reading her statement to the court, but could not finish, overcome by emotion. Her daughter, Alphonzo’s sister Stacia Pittman, finished reading the statement.
In the statement, Sheila Pittman told of the loss of her son and how it has affected her. She told of losing others in the family in the months and years before her son was killed.
“Pain is something I know and know all too well,” the daughter read from the mother’s statement. “There is no pain in this world like a mother feels when she loses her child, even worse when her child is murdered.”
Sheila Pittman said she believes Miles knows more than he is letting on about what happened the night of March 26, 2010. “I have many questions at this time that no one can answer for me,” she said in the statement read by her daughter. “But I do believe this defendant has one of the answers.”
Sheila Pittman asked for the maximum sentence allowed, 15 years. She also hoped that Miles and others would think before deciding to walk out of the house with a loaded weapon.
She was similarly overcome in July, after the Schenectady County Court jury read its verdict: Miles was not guilty of killing either Pittman or 21-year-old Virgil Terry.
Prosecutors alleged Miles and co-defendant Michael Capers opened fire on Pittman on Hulett Street after an argument broke out. Virgil Terry was killed inadvertently, prosecutors alleged.
Virgil Terry’s brother, Dashaun Terry, was also charged in the shootings, but he took a plea deal to weapons charges and testified at Miles’ trial. In exchange for his testimony, he is to receive 10 to 15 years in state prison when sentenced.
Prosecutors appeared to take both Miles’ verdict and Dashaun Terry’s sentence into account when offering Capers a deal Monday morning, as he was about to go on trial.
Prosecutor Tracey Brunecz gave Capers three options, any one of which he could take.
Two options involved a flat 10-year sentence. In one, he would have pleaded to a weapons count and tell what happened to the guns. In the other, he would have pleaded to one count of second-degree manslaughter — of whichever victim he wanted — and not tell anything.
The third option was to plead guilty to the weapons count, not cooperated, and gotten 15 years in prison.
Capers, though, rejected all three offers. Acting Schenectady County Court Judge Frank P. Milano went over the options with him, noting that, were he convicted of even one of the weapons charges against him, he would likely do no better than the offers placed on the table Monday morning.
Capers indicated he understood and was rejecting the offers.
Jury selection then got under way. Capers is being represented by attorney Steve Kouray.
At Miles’ sentencing, prosecutor Brunecz echoed comments from Pittman’s mother.
“This is what happens, or can happen, when people illegally possess weapons and possess them with intent to use them against another,” Brunecz said.
Brunecz asked Milano to sentence Miles to the maximum, 15 years, arguing that the sentence would help deter others.
Horan argued that the sentence shouldn’t be affected by the murder case, as his client was acquitted in the killings. Horan asked for a sentence that would allow Miles to return to the community and make something of himself.
“The maximum is not only harsh and inappropriate, but it serves no good purpose in this case,” he argued.
Milano imposed the maximum sentence without comment of his own: 15 years on each of the two weapons counts he was convicted of, to run concurrently.
The judge, though, did appear to show Miles some leniency. Miles is currently serving 31⁄2 years on a weapons possession plea out of Binghamton, for an incident that happened after the Pittman-Terry killings.
Milano could have run the Schenectady weapons convictions consecutive to that sentence but ran them concurrently, keeping the total prison time at 15 years.
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