Two Capital Region state legislators have proposed tougher penalties for murders committed as a result of drive-by shootings in reaction to the drive-by murder of a popular 11-year-old boy in Troy last Sunday night.
The death of Ayshawn Davis, who was from the city’s Lansingburgh section, has convulsed Troy, bringing people into the streets to call for justice and at end to violence in the community. Davis, well-known and well-liked in the neighborhood, was shot in the head while with a group of other people on Old Sixth Avenue at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday. The crime remains unsolved.
On Friday, Democratic State Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara and Republican State Sen. Daphne Jordan introduced matching legislation in their respective chambers that would make a murder committed by drive-by shooting first-degree murder — punishable in New York by life in prison without parole, the state’s most severe punishment. New York, in practice, does not have a death penalty.
“It’s heartbreaking to see this tragic and senseless death,” said Santabarbara, R-Rotterdam. “Drive-by shootings are an attack on our community and we cannot stand by while innocent bystanders become victims. We must do all that we can to ensure those responsible face the harshest penalties.”
A “drive-by shooting” is defined as when a person, with the intent to cause the death of another person, discharges a firearm from inside a motor vehicle at another person outside of the motor vehicle.
“Our entire Capital Region was shocked and horrified at the senseless murder of 11-year-old Ayshawn Davis, a beloved child with a bright future,” said Jordan, R-Halfmoon. “As a mom of two boys, I cannot begin to comprehend the Davis family’s pain over this unspeakable loss. We send our prayers to the Davis family and want to see Ayshawn’s killer receive swift justice.”
In New York, murder under most circumstances — including a drive-by — is considered to he second-degree murder, with a maximum penalty of 25-years to life in prison. Under current law, first-degree murder applies to the intentional killings of police officers, first-responders and corrections officers while on official duty, to murder for hire, to torture-murder, and murder committed while committing another violent felony.
The proposed legislation would add drive-by shootings to that list.
“My new legislation would increase penalties on vicious criminals like the one who murdered Ayshawn for committing the cowardly, heinous crime of a drive-by shooting,” Jordan said. “We have a duty and an obligation to protect the lives of families and especially children. In Ayshawn’s memory, the state legislature should embrace my common-sense legislation and take bi-partisan action to do all we can to try and prevent future drive-by shootings and other senseless, violent criminal acts.”