HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Dabbing eyes and choking sobs, hugging loved ones unable to speak, the parents of Dejah Joyner who was taken from them at age 12 faced their daughter’s shooter in a court.
“It’s my granddaughter,” said Kym Lindsay, Dejah’s grandmother. “I don’t have words right now because of emotions, the way they’re flowing.”
During tear-filled impact statments, Dejah’s family relived the day from October 2015 when the seventh-grade girlscout was shot in the head by a bullet fired into their Hempstead home through their front window while the family ate dinner.
Jakwan Keller admitted he fired the shot, pleading guilty to manslaughter and sentenced to five to 15 years in prison.
“Five to 15, I pray for the 15,” said one of Dejah’s aunts. “It’s only right. You need to sit.
“He should take the time and reevaluate what he did, and use his mind constructively – maybe as he returns into society he will be a better citizne for us all,” she said.
The slaying sparked outrage across Long Island where residents viewed Dejah’s death as a most egriguous example of gun violence.
Police say Keller, a member of the Bloods gang, shot into the Joyner home from a vehicle because he beleived Dejah’s brother had stolen a hoverboard.
“I hope one day God will have mercy on your soul,” said Keisha Miles-Joyner, Dejah’s mother. “Dejah did not deserve that. As a family we are no longer complete. we are no longer at peace in our home.”
“I didnt mean to intentionally hurt your daughter,” said Keller. “If I could take it back, I would.”
“Recklessness was the core of what he did wrong here,” said Keller’s defense attorney Bruce Barket. “He didnt intend to hurt anybody. He fired one shot.”
Dejah’s parents walked weeping out of the sentecing, saying “Everyone is a loser here.”