A Fayette Circuit Court jury on Wednesday recommended a 35-year sentence for Deionta Hayes in the shooting death of Chaz Black.
In addition, the jury recommended sentences of 10 years on one second-degree assault conviction; 12 years on another second-degree assault conviction; and 10 years on a conviction for theft by unlawful taking of a firearm.
The assault convictions were for the shootings of two other young men who were wounded in the same shooting in which Black was killed. But the prosecution sought a longer sentence for the shooting of Laroz Mitchell, an unarmed victim who was running from the scene.
The sentences would be served concurrently for a total of 35 years.
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Judge Thomas Clark scheduled final sentencing for Aug. 28.
Hayes, 24, was found guilty Tuesday of murder in the 2012 shooting of Black, 16, a Henry Clay High School sophomore. He also was found guilty of being a persistent felony offender because of two prior felony 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 on Tuesday acquitted Godfrey on charges of murder, assault and theft.
The defense sought mercy for Hayes, who grew up in crime-ridden neighborhoods, including Bluegrass-Aspendale, a Lexington public housing complex demolished in 2006. His mother and sister testified Wednesday about his childhood and the bleak environment in which he was raised.
Sheryl Burnett, his mother, testified that her house on Breckenridge Street was shot at a dozen times over the years, but no one was ever charged. She also testified that a police officer once told her, "Ma'am, my advice to you is get a gun and shoot back."
The sister, Shakari Burnside, testified that she and her brother once witnessed a fatal shooting but remained quiet about what they'd seen.
"We weren't allowed to say anything," Burnside said. "You ain't allowed to snitch. That's just the way it is."
Public defender Brian Hewlett used the testimony to show that Hayes grew up in an environment where guns were needed for protection.
"I just ask you to look at the whole picture and not make a decision on five seconds (of the 2012 shooting), but on the full scope of what Deionta's life has been," Hewlett said.
India Alcorn, Black's mother, testified Wednesday that her son's death took an emotional toll.
"Writing his obituary ... was hard, really hard," Alcorn said. "It's going to stay with me the rest of my life.
"Instead of writing invitations for his graduation, I was writing thank-you notes to people who helped me through a hard time."
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Dan Laren said Hayes had options other than violence, even if he grew up in neighborhoods plagued by violence.
"Does that justify what he did? It absolutely does not," Laren told the jury.
Laren also noted the two felony convictions Hayes had at the time of Black's shooting.
In 2010, Hayes pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery. Fayette Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine sentenced him to five years of 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, the judge presiding over the current trial.
For that reason, Laren told the jury, "I'm going to ask you to hold this defendant accountable for his actions."
After the trial, Laren said: "People are responsible for their own choices. This young man made a series of bad choices, and was given several chances and decided to continue down that road. That resulted in the death of an innocent child."
Hayes would be eligible for parole in 20 years.