Kusaan Tolliver’s mother recalled him Thursday as a free spirit who loved to look good, dance and rhyme.
She misses him dearly, she wrote in a statement read in court Thursday at the sentencing of her son’s admitted killer, Jonathan Monforte.
“The pain I feel every day is unspeakable, unbearable, unimaginable,” Kareen Tolliver wrote in a statement read aloud by prosecutor Philip Mueller and provided later. “I will never hold my child again, never hear his voice. That pain may never go away.
“I hope that the individual who took his life has time to reflect on his wrongs and repent for his sins and ask God for forgiveness.”
That individual, the 21-year-old Monforte, pleaded guilty in February to one count of first-degree manslaughter.
In return for his plea, he received an agreed-upon 25 years in state prison at his sentencing Thursday.
Monforte admitted in February to killing the 18-year-old Tolliver last July in retaliation for an earlier altercation, prosecutors have said.
Monforte made no statement in court Thursday, Mueller said. Monforte was represented by attorneys Lee Kindlon and Gennaro Calabrese. Schenectady County Court Judge Matthew Sypniewski imposed the sentence.
Prosecutors have said the July 28 shooting on Schenectady Street appeared to stem from an altercation earlier that day among Monforte, Tolliver and two others on the same street.
Mueller, citing witnesses, has said that Monforte and Tolliver fought and Monforte got the worst of it. Tolliver also kicked Monforte in the head when Monforte was down.
According to the prosecutor, a Tolliver associate had gone through Monforte’s car and, when Monforte’s mother arrived and confronted the man, he responded by pointing a gun at her.
Police responded to that incident and quickly arrested the man, identified by prosecutors as Bruce Campbell. Campbell had no gun at the time of his arrest and police charged him with menacing, Mueller said.
Later that day, Monforte sought out Tolliver, Mueller said. He found Tolliver about 10 p.m. and shot him in the upper body, killing him.
A large contingent of Tolliver family and friends attended Thursday’s sentencing, Mueller said. Tolliver’s mother wrote out her statement to the court, giving it to Mueller to read.
Tolliver’s mother told the court that she couldn’t adequately explain what her son’s killing has done to her and her family. The healing process, she said, is continuous.
“It is not easy, but I see brighter days ahead,” she wrote. “I just wish that Kusaan could have shared those days with me.”