A day after one man was sentenced to life in prison for the ambush murder of York City resident Trevahn "Trey" Kent, the second man accused in the crime received a time-served sentence on a lesser charge.
On Thursday, Damian Chaudre Banks pleaded guilty to simple assault for punching Kent during a fight about a month before Kent was killed.
That brawl, during which Kent was stabbed in the side, was the catalyst for the homicide, senior deputy prosecutor Duane Ramseur has said.
Banks, 22, who had been living in York but is from the Hampton, Va., area, testified against co-defendant Derrick Eugene Johnson at Johnson's trial earlier this month.
He explained he, Johnson and others were at Temptations strip club, 617 E. Market St., on Jan. 13, 2013, when they got into an argument with Kent and Lamin Goodman that ended in a fight.
The group was angry because Goodman asked them to move so he could make a pool shot, testimony revealed.
Ambush: Banks told jurors it was Johnson who lay in wait outside Temptations for about 45 minutes on Feb. 17, 2013, until Kent and Goodman left the club about 2:30 a.m.
When they did, Johnson aimed the laser sight of his .45-caliber handgun at Kent's back and fired, killing the 21-year-old father, Banks testified.
He admitted he was there with Johnson, but said he wanted nothing to do with shooting Kent.
"I was waiting to get some weed," he testified.
Banks also told jurors he was hoping for consideration on his own homicide charge in exchange for his testimony.
Prosecution theory: After Thursday's hearing, Ramseur told The York Dispatch only one gun was fired at the scene.
"(The prosecution) was always under the theory that Derrick Johnson was the shooter," Ramseur said, adding his opinion has not changed.
At Johnson's trial his defense attorney, Kevin Hoffman, argued to jurors that Banks' testimony was self-serving.
Prosecutors withdrew Banks' homicide charge on June 17, court records state.
As part of a negotiated plea agreement, Banks was sentenced to time-served (53 days) to 12 months in York County Prison for his simple assault plea.
"We got into an argument and I punched him in the face," Banks told the judge.
Banks was arrested in Hampton, Va., on March 14 by the U.S. Marshals Service on a homicide arrest warrant.
He has been in custody since then and subsequently was extradited to York County.
Life sentence: A jury on June 11 found Johnson, 25, of York, guilty of first-degree murder.
On Wednesday, Common Pleas Judge Gregory M. Snyder sentenced Johnson to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
"If there was ever a prime example of a senseless death, this is it," Snyder said.
Defense attorney John Hamme, who represents Banks, said his client has family in York but does not intend to stay here.
"He plans to leave York," Hamme said.
Banks' former girlfriend, Khadijah Weary, also testified at Johnson's trial. At the time she was an employee at Temptations.
What girlfriend saw: She told jurors she left the club about 1:45 a.m., her normal time, and Banks and Johnson were waiting outside to drive her home, which also was normal, she said.
"They both gave me a hug," Weary testified, and she felt guns tucked in both men's waistbands, after which they told her to go to the car and that everything "would be OK."
Weary testified she waited in the car for some time, then heard three gunshots and saw Banks and Johnson running through the parking lot to their car.
She also testified she had to quit her job because Banks was coming in and threatening her, and was having others threaten her as well.
Banks was not charged with witness intimidation, Ramseur confirmed.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org.