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Saturday, 22 October 2011

West Side street gang gunman gets life plus 71 years

07:47 |


Christian Kenyon, a Scranton street gang member convicted of participating in an execution slaying on Snake Road in 2009, another shooting and a doughnut shop holdup, was defiant Monday when a judge sentenced him to life in prison without parole, plus another 35½ years to 71 years. Mr. Kenyon, wearing leg chains and an orange prison jumpsuit, shuffled up to the bench surrounded by sheriff's deputies and professed his innocence to Judge Carmen Minora. "I shot a corpse," Mr. Kenyon said. "I didn't kill nobody." At one point, Mr. Kenyon turned and told family members of Allen Fernandez, "I didn't kill your papa." As Mr. Fernandez's mother was led out of the courtroom in tears, Mr. Kenyon told the judge, "They couldn't prove my shot killed him." "I'm going to be back on appeal," Mr. Kenyon said. In August, a Lackawanna County jury convicted Mr. Kenyon of first-degree murder in the slaying of Mr. Fernandez, which automatically carried a life sentence. "You don't think you had a fair trial," Judge Minora said. "You and I disagree on that point. I think you just don't like the outcome." Mr. Kenyon's lead defense attorney, George Gretz, said there are unresolved legal challenges to the constitutionality of sentencing a juvenile - Mr. Kenyon was 17 years old at the time of the murder - to life in prison. Asked about the life plus up to 71 years in prison, Mr. Gretz said, "Does it really make a difference?" as he left the courthouse. The execution of Mr. Fernandez, whose body was riddled with 12 shots, was the centerpiece of Mr. Kenyon's eight-day trial, but it was not the entire case. The trial also included testimony on an armed robbery at Dunkin' Donuts on Moosic Street in Scranton and a shooting on 10th Avenue in Scranton that left a man with life-threatening injuries. He was convicted of both of those crimes in addition to the slaying of Mr. Fernandez, a member of a rival street gang who had been driven from Hazleton, where he lived in a halfway house, to Scranton for his murder. During eight days of testimony, jurors learned the mores and language of street gangs and glimpsed into the secretive world of Mr. Kenyon's Scranton's Lincoln Park Piru, whose members included the brothers Jeffrey and Tonie Future. The gang is a subset of the notorious Bloods. Jeffrey Future is serving life in prison for his role in the slaying of Mr. Fernandez. The case against his brother, Tonie, is pending, said Gene Talerico, the lead prosecutor on the case.

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