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Man Gets 17 Years In Prison For Harlem Crash That Killed Sister Mary Celine Graham

Sister Mary Celine Graham (credit: Personal Photo)

Sister Mary Celine Graham (credit: Personal Photo)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – A New York City man who killed an 83-year-old nun in a car crash while he was fleeing police in Harlem two years ago has been sentenced to 17 years to life in prison.

Dyson Williams declined to speak at his sentencing Tuesday. Defense lawyer Norman Williams said the 22-year-old is “deeply sorry.” The lawyer and client aren’t related. Williams pleaded guilty last month to murder and other charges.

He and an accomplice, 20-year-old William Robbins, admitted to committing five armed robberies on June 22, 2010 in Harlem.

It was two years ago on Lenox Avenue in Harlem where a Chrysler van driven by Williams and being pursued by police plowed into a Honda Odyssey that spun around, killing Sister Mary Celine Graham and injuring 4 others, CBS 2’s John Slattery reported.

Sister Celine, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease, lived at the nearby Franciscan Handmaids of Mary Convent, where there was reluctant comment on the sentencing of the nun’s killer.

“We don’t wish them anything bad, but we pray that God will [have] young people do the right thing,” one nun said.

“The defendants tore a path of violence through the Harlem community,” District Attorney Cy Vance said in a statement. “Their robbery spree culminated in the senseless death of Sister Mary Celine Graham, a beloved member of her religious order and her neighborhood. Additional victims were also seriously injured. The sentences imposed on these two defendants hold them accountable for the tragic aftermath of their reckless actions.”

Robbins, who pleaded guilty to robbery last month, was sentenced last Thursday to 15 years in prison.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)