An Erie teenager involved in the murder of a 13-year-old boy returned to an Erie County courtroom Thursday.
The defendant, James Garcia, pleaded guilty to third-degree murder, among other charges. We heard from the victim’s mother who continues to mourn the loss of her son.
In December of 2020, 13-year-old Kas’ir Gambill was fatally shot on the city’s eastside.
At the time of the shooting, both of the suspects involved were only 15 years old. One of the suspects, James Garcia, entered guilty plea Thursday morning of third-degree murder.
Gambill’s mother attended Thursday’s hearing, saying she and her family continue to mourn the loss of her son.
“He’s my one and only son, you know. His sisters miss him very much, and it’s definitely different without him. It’s been a struggle for two and a half years, but you know, we have no choice but to be strong for him and I know this is what he would want anyway,” said Alliesheia Gambill Brown, mother of Kas’ir Gambill.
Garcia’s codefendant, DeAngelo Troop Jr., is going to trial next month.
The prosecution alleges that both suspects were involved with a lower eastside Erie gang and drove to the neighborhood of a rival gang near East 20th Street the night Gambill was shot.
Garcia’s sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 14.
A group called the Bluecoats is active in the Erie Community to help reduce violence among young people.
“We don’t come in with judgment, we come in with love and at all times we’re warning them as well about the possibilities and the residual effects of being charged as a shooter, or what happens to somebody’s family when they lose a loved one,” said Daryl Craig, chief advisor of Blue Coats.
The executive director of Blue Coats said the have been doing this work since 2006.
“We’re growing. We’re not just at the school, but we’re growing out in the community, doing a lot of programs to help battle the violence and the mental health really is what plays a big factor in that,” said Roscoe Carroll, executive director of Blue Coats.