The Brooklyn man convicted in October of shooting three people outside a Mont Pleasant bar, killing one of them, was sentenced Thursday to 50 years to life in prison.
Acting Schenectady County Court Judge Richard Giardino handed down the sentence for 23-year-old Rodney Davis after proceedings in which the mother and sister of the man killed, Rashad Robinson, spoke on the impact the death has had.
The biggest impact, they said, has yet to be felt: Robinson’s now-21-month-old daughter, Omaryanna, was born after her father’s death.
“How do you tell a child, ‘You will never know your father because someone took his life for something so senseless,’ ” Robinson’s sister, Yolanda Windom, told the court in asking for a lengthy sentence.
The child, who was brought to the sentencing, slept through much of the first part. She then awoke, crying. As Giardino handed down the sentence for her father’s killer, the girl — whose name comes from her father’s middle name — was quiet in her aunt’s arms.
Davis was convicted after trial in October of one count of second-degree murder and numerous other charges in the Nov. 12, 2011, shooting outside Joe’s Bar, at 1306 Fifth Ave. The jury concluded Davis shot and killed Robinson, 23, at close range, then shot two others, both of who survived.
Prosecutor Amy Monahan asked for the maximum sentence of 75 years to life. Davis’ attorney, Mark Gaylord, asked for a lesser sentence.
As it stands, Davis will be in his early 70s before he will even have the opportunity to go before a parole board. The daughter of his victim will be in her 50s.
The sentence reflects 25 years to life for Robinson’s killing and another 25 years — to be served consecutively — for the shooting of the other two men.
Giardino prefaced the sentence by saying Davis killing Robinson was part of a “continuing cycle of violence, of young men killing young men over nothing.”
“It bothers me that you couldn’t see ahead of time the consequences your actions would have by taking somebody’s life,” Giardino said.
Monahan argued at trial the shooting had roots in a minor argument that began inside the bar. It was also the result of a brewing feud between Davis’ group of friends from Brooklyn and Robinson’s group from Schenectady. She also identified Davis as a member of the Bloods street gang and the “enforcer” for his Brooklyn group. Robinson was unarmed, she said.
Gaylord countered that testimony pointed not to his client but to another suspect. He also questioned whether the description of the shooter fit his client.
Monahan said Thursday that Davis deserved the maximum, 75 years to life, because he chose to respond to what was essentially a bar fight over inconsequential matters with gunfire. There were also no signs he had any remorse, she said.
“At the slightest provocation, the defendant was willing to open fire and willing to try to slaughter three unarmed people,” Monahan told Giardino.
At that point in her comments, Omaryanna woke up and began to cry.
And Davis chose to open fire, Monahan continued, even though he significantly outweighed Robinson.
“He took the coward’s route out,” she said.
Gaylord asked Giardino to give his client the opportunity to better himself in prison and show that with the chance to be released in his lifetime.
“I would ask that you at least be cognizant of the fact that he was a 21-year-old man when he made these poor decisions and not foreclose on the possibility, at some point down the road, that a parole board can decide that he’s rehabilitated himself,” Gaylord said.
Davis declined to make a statement prior to sentencing. After sentencing, Davis gave his condolences to the Robinson family, but said nothing else.
Robinson’s mother, Gellie Young, addressed Davis and the court during her chance to speak. She spoke of the son she lost, that her family lost, and how Omaryanna will never know her father.
But, she said, her son is still here. “You killed my son’s body, but you will never kill his spirit,” Young said to Davis. “You see, his spirit lives on.”
It lives on, she said, in everyone who loved him and everyone who tried to help him. She thanked everyone who helped her find justice for her son.
Young also spoke of forgiveness.
“I’ll tell you this one thing,” Young said, “that I forgive you. But I don’t understand why.”