MERCER – Even though a high school coach stood up for Deshawn Coleman’s character Thursday, that did not stop a judge from sentencing him to 7 to 16 years in a state prison for shooting at an ice cream truck that had two adults and a 9-year-old in it.
“I’ve known this kid for a long time,” Michael A. Nardone told the judge as he broke down. “I know there’s good in him. He has a heart.”
Coleman, 27, Farrell, pleaded guilty Feb. 10 to carrying a firearm without a license, two counts of aggravated assault, prohibitive behavior during an emergency (the COVID-19 pandemic) and reckless endangerment for the incident that happened last year in Sharon.
Assistant District Attorney Jacob Sander said the commonwealth was looking for a sentence to be served consecutively “due to the violent nature of events – shooting into the truck,” he said. “These are serious offenses we can’t overlook.”
Defense Attorney Stanley T. Booker made a motion to withdraw the guilty plea, which was denied by Common Pleas Judge Ronald D. Amrhein Jr.
“He’s a really good kid who makes dumb decisions sometimes,” Booker said.
Nardone said he does not condone what Coleman did.
“But I’ve seen the way he is with his fiancée and his kids,” Nardone said. “His kids are the number one thing in his life.”
Booker, who advised his client not to make a statement, told the judge that his client is 100% remorseful.
The judge asked Coleman a rhetorical question.
“How would you feel if your child were in that truck and someone did that?” Amrhein said. “There’s no logic to what you did.”
But, Amrhein said, it says a lot for Coleman that he left college to care for his daughter, as well as the coach’s testimony.
Because of the coach’s testimony, Amrhein said he shaved a year off Coleman’s minimum sentence.
For carrying a firearm without a license, Amrhein sentenced Coleman to 1 to 2 years confinement to be served consecutively; for each of the two aggravated assault counts, he sentenced Coleman to 3 to 7 years to be served consecutively, for conduct in an emergency, he sentenced him to 3 to 6 months concurrently and for the reckles- endangerment charge, he sentenced Coleman to two years’ probation to be served consecutively.
According to the guidelines, Amrhein could have sentenced Coleman to a maximum of 11 to 22 years in prison, but decided against it.
Police were dispatched at 4:14 p.m. April 24, 2020, to a crime scene near George Street and Spearman Avenue, where a witness said a Black man who wore a white hooded sweatshirt, black pants and a mask over his face, ran through the area.
Patrolmen said they saw a man, later identified as Coleman, who allegedly matched the description, according to a police criminal complaint. The man jumped into the passenger side of a car, which a patrolman pulled over.
The patrolman said he smelled marijuana in the car, so they searched it and found marijuana on the driver and a silver-and-black handgun in the glove box. Farrell police found casings that matched the handgun at the shooting scene.
According to a criminal complaint, a witness told police people were selling ice cream from a truck near the intersection of Quinby Street and Spearman Avenue when a man fitting Coleman’s description approached the truck. The witness then reported hearing several pops.
Police said they examined the truck, which had a shattered side window and a hole where a bullet hit a sliding service window.
Coleman was taken into custody and posted bond two days later. He was taken back to jail by sheriff’s deputies Thursday after the sentencing hearing.
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