Timothy Hearns and Ramon Silvelo-Miles, both 24, today pleaded guilty to manslaughter for gunning down Jaewon Martin, 14, on a Bromley-Heath basketball court in a gang feud the young teen had nothing to do with, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office reports.
Both confessed killers were members of the H-Block gang, which had long feuded with the Heath Street gang. Hearns, who pulled the trigger, got 31-32 years in prison and 5 years probation - with the threat of 20 more years in prison if he commits another crime or is found in contact with any members of his H-Block gang, the DA's office reports. Silvelo-Miles, who accompanied Hearns in their revenge mission against the Heath Street gang, got 9-10 in prison and 3 years of probation - with the risk of 80 additional years should he commit a crime or be found with any H-Block members.
The DA's office explained why it agreed to manslaughter sentences when it originally sought first-degree murder charges against the pair:
Prosecutors agreed to accept their guilty pleas not merely for the lengthy prison sentence imposed upon the admitted killer but also for strategic reasons: their trials were likely to be severed, meaning each man could point the finger at each other in front of separate juries; the main prosecution witnesses were all fellow gang members who would be reluctant to testify and whose testimony could be impeached with their prior criminal histories; and the guilty pleas preclude any post-conviction appellate claims by either defendant.
The case against Hearns went all the way to the Supreme Judicial Court after Hearns objected to the use of a confession recorded by an informant wearing a wire, saying H-Block was not involved in organized crime, one of the few types of crime for which Massachusetts law enforcement is legally allowed to make such recordings. In April of this year, the state's highest court ruled that H-Block fit the definition of organized crime.