A Fayette County circuit judge sentenced Deionta Hayes on Friday to 35 years in prison for the shooting death of Henry Clay High School student Chaz Black.
Hayes, 24, was found guilty in July of murder in the death of Black, 16, a sophomore at Henry Clay. Hayes also was found guilty of being a persistent felony offender because of two previous convictions.
The shooting happened March 18, 2012, at a dice game in an apartment at Palumbo Drive and Man o' War Boulevard.
Prosecutors said Hayes was directed to the dice game by Dominique Godfrey to retrieve money Godfrey had lost in the game. The jury acquitted Godfrey on charges of murder, assault and theft.
The jury also convicted Hayes on two counts of second-degree assault for the wounding of two young men in the same shooting. The jury had recommended that 10- and 12-year sentences on those convictions run concurrently, or simultaneously, with the sentence for the murder conviction.
Fayette Circuit Judge Thomas Clark said in open court that he was concerned with "the way the jury ran those sentences," hinting that he apparently would prefer to have seen those convictions run consecutively, one after the other, because they involved separate victims.
Nevertheless, even though he had discretion to run the sentences consecutively, Clark chose to abide by the jury's recommendations. Judges typically follow a jury's recommendations.
The sentence was disappointing to Black's mother, India Alcorn, who had asked the judge in a letter to impose consecutive sentences.
"I'm pleading to the court to apply this time consecutively so that my family and I may live and grieve in peace," Alcorn wrote.
"Our lives have been devastated," grandmother Joy Black told reporters after the sentencing. "I wouldn't want any parent, any relatives to go through what we have. ... We've lost Chaz forever. So there's no closure for us. None."
Clark also sentenced Hayes to pay restitution of $25,380 for the funeral and medical expenses incurred by Black's family.
In 2010, Hayes pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery. Fayette Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine sentenced him to five years' probation.
In 2011, Hayes pleaded guilty to first-degree wanton endangerment and possession of a handgun by a convicted felon. He was sentenced to five years' probation by Clark.
Hayes will be eligible for parole in 20 years.