A man faces up to 36 years behind bars for a fatal shooting in 2016. Today, Jemar Phillips’ family returned to Erie County Court once again to find out the fate of the second man accused of his murder.
Stacy Pullium, Phillips’ sister, says, “To hear my sister screaming and crying, that our brother was gone on Valentine’s Day it just…it’s horrible.”
Jemar Phillips was shot and killed at West 18th and Raspberry streets in Erie on February 14th of 2016. One trial down and more than two years later, his family is finally getting closure. Terri Pacley, another of Phillips’ sisters, tells us, “Every time we’re getting over it… It’s another court hearing.”
A judge sentenced 25-year-old Lavance Kirksey to 18 to 36 years in prison on third-degree murder charges.
Assistant District Attorney Erin Connelly calls the crime an ambush, “He has no opportunity to even defend himself. He runs away, falls down and is left for dead, basically, in between two vehicles was where the police find him with eight bullet wounds in his body.”
The victim’s sisters tell Phillips wasn’t perfect, but he was trying to build a better life for himself and his family. They say no sentence will be total justice. Pacley saying, “That man he didn’t know my brother from nothing. He never had met him, never spoke to him, nothing. You just threw away your life for nothing.”
The other accused shooter, Torriano Beard, was sentenced in January to life in prison for first-degree murder. Kirksey pleaded no contest last month and still maintained his innocence at sentencing, but Phillips’ family doesn’t accept that answer. Pullium saying, “He is guilty. He was there, and he pulled that trigger.”
The judge asked Kirksey if there was anything he wanted to say in court today, but he declined. Connelly says there’s a wide range for what someone could be sentenced on a third-degree murder charge and the DA’s Office is pleased with the outcome today.