A Phila. judge sentenced Kyle McLemore to 18 to 36 years behind bars. The saga that began with a fatal shooting outside of the Palestra last March ended on Tuesday with the sentencing of the two men found guilty of third-degree murder. Kyle McLemore, 22, was sentenced to 18 to 36 years in prison, while his co-defendant, Nathaniel Ortiz, also 22, received 10 to 20 years. Both were convicted in February for the murder of Anthony Davis and the shooting of three others -- including a Penn student -- in addition to other related charges. Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge John Poserina gave Ortiz a more lenient sentence because the evidence against him was not as strong. McLemore will not start serving time specifically for the Palestra shooting charges until 2002 because he is already serving time for prior unrelated convictions. While both defense lawyers were pleased with the sentencing, Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney Jude Conroy -- who expected a maximum of 50 years of jail time for each man -- said he was disappointed. "I was hoping for stiffer sentences," Conroy said. "They will both be away for a significant amount of time [but Ortiz] was convicted of murder and he only got 10 to 20." Fortunato Perri, Ortiz's attorney, believed the sentencing was fair. "[The sentencing] showed compassion for the role the jury found [Ortiz] to have," he said. "[Ortiz had a] difficult upbringing? [and his] parents were heavy drug users," Perri added. "The judge considered everything." And McLemore's attorney, Charles Peruto, said he is confident that his client will be released within 15 years -- a statement with which Conroy said he disagreed. "[They should be in prison for] the better part of the next 20 years," Conroy said. "As of right now, under [Gov. Tom] Ridge and the Republicans, they are not getting out after the minimum." The charges stem from the March 1, 1998, gunfight at 33rd and Walnut streets following a Philadelphia high school basketball championship game at the Palestra. Davis was killed in the shootout, while a friend of Davis', a passerby and then-College senior John LaBombard -- who was working in the nearby Blauhaus when he was struck in the thigh by a stray bullet that pierced the wooden walls -- were all wounded. Davis was also armed during the melee. The sentencing hearing lasted approximately 40 minutes in front a packed courtroom of friends and relatives of the defendants and the deceased. Poserina made his decision following the testimony of McLemore's mother, Ortiz's girlfriend and Davis' sister. Joanne Miller, McLemore's mother, told the judge that she needed her son to help pay her bills and support his two children. "He has two children that I will have to take responsibility for," she said at the hearing, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. "I don't have 18 more years in me. I am asking -- I am begging -- for you to be lenient with my son so he can support me and the children." Upon being asked for statements on their own behalf, Ortiz remained silent while McLemore adamantly denied any involvement in the shootings. "I didn't even know this guy. I never had an argument with him," McLemore said, the Inquirer reported. "I truly feel sorry for his family because they've lost a son, just as my family will lose me."Comments powered by Disqus
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