A York City teen sentenced to decades in state prison for shooting an innocent man in the face didn't commit his crime in the heat of the moment or out of "youthful impulsivity," a York County judge said Wednesday.
Rather, the shooting happened because of a "defect" in Jihad Bashir's character, his deceptive nature and "a wholesale disregard of the sanctity of human life," Common Pleas Judge Craig T. Trebilcock said.
Now 20, Bashir was 17 years old when he walked up to 48-year-old Antoine Breeland and shot the man in the eye on Sept. 6, 2011, testimony revealed.
By that time, Bashir had already amassed an extensive felony record that includes charges of robbery, felony aggravated assault and being a convicted felon in illegal possession of a firearm.
A jury on Jan. 17 convicted the teen in adult court of attempted homicide and aggravated assault. Trebilcock sentenced Bashir to 20 to 40 years in state prison on May 1.
Sentence reconsidered: On Wednesday, Bashir was back before the judge with his attorney, first assistant public defender Clasina Houtman, who asked Trebilcock to reduce Bashir's sentence. The judge refused.
Houtman cited her client's young age, immaturity and the fact that scientific studies have shown the brains of teenagers are not yet fully formed.
She argued that Bashir had shown his behavior could improve when given structure.
"The problem is, he's harming people when he's not in a structured environment," the judge retorted. "Prison is a structured environment. Apparently it's the only place where he can follow the rules."
Trebilcock said he considered Bashir's immaturity, rehabilitative potential and still-developing brain when determining the sentence, but said those factors are "outweighed by the danger he presents to society."
Life 'destroyed': Breeland's life was destroyed and he was left an invalid, the judge said. — and Breeland didn't even know Bashir.
"I believe the defendant is a dangerous person and will continue to be a dangerous person," Trebilcock said, adding society must be protected from him.
Chief deputy prosecutor David Sunday opposed a sentence reduction.
"It's sad whenever a kid throws his life away," he later told The York Dispatch. "The reality is he destroyed the victim's life, destroyed his own life and destroyed his family's life. Nothing we can do can turn back the hands of time."
Leg amputated: Bashir's bullet cost Breeland one eye, plus half the vision in his other eye, according to Sunday. Breeland subsequently suffered multiple infections, including pneumonia and sepsis, the prosecutor said.
In January, doctors were forced to amputate one of Breeland's legs because of medical complications, Sunday said.
It's believed Bashir shot Breeland because the victim's nephew is friends with a group of people who previously shot Bashir, according to the prosecutor.
Bashir shot: "Based on trial testimony, we know Bashir himself was shot two weeks before the shooting of Antoine Breeland," Sunday said, and the two shootings happened about a block apart. "When police talked to (Bashir) about his shooting, he refused to cooperate with them."
Testimony revealed Bashir approached Breeland, who was standing in the 200 block of Jefferson Avenue, and asked where the man's nephew was, Sunday said. The two then apparently exchanged words.
That's when Bashir pulled out a gun, pointed it at Breeland's face and pulled the trigger, Sunday said.
Also Wednesday, Trebilcock denied Houtman's motion for a new trial.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org.