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State prison for 14-year-old who murdered Patrick Winter
Murder victim Patrick Winter could have done anything, according to his grieving father, but the young man's promise was cut short over senseless pettiness.
"My son was killed over jealousy," Patrick "Kevin" Winter said of his son. "Leonard Green took my son's life over jealousy."
The elder Winter, who is president and CEO of World A Cuts at 121 N. George St., said Patrick could have started his own business or could have joined the family business. At 17, Patrick's options were wide open until Leonard Green III saw him in a family member's BMW.
"Leonard Green told my son to get out (of the car), and my son said no," Winter said, so Green made the choice to end Patrick's future.
"I do not want any apology from Leonard Green," Winter told presiding Common Pleas Judge Craig T. Trebilcock at Green's sentencing hearing Thursday afternoon. "He said he killed my son because he (called Green) the b-word. Now he's going to be somebody's b-word."
Green was just 14 years old when he pulled out an illegal gun and fatally shot Patrick as the teen sat in a car occupied by six other young people.
Kids and guns: Winter lamented that children are running around with guns, which the judge also spoke about at length prior to handing down Green's punishment.
Trebilcock sentenced Green, now 17 years old, to 22 years and 10 months to 47 years in state prison and ordered he pay $10,522 in restitution. Green had previously pleaded guilty to third-degree murder, six counts of reckless endangerment, possession of a firearm by a minor and firearms not to be carried without a license.
York County District Attorney's Office spokesman Kyle King has said that, to his knowledge, Green is the youngest person to be charged as an adult with murder in York County.
Patrick's family and friends packed the courtroom Thursday, which chief deputy prosecutor David Maisch noted to the judge.
"They don't need to say anything to you," he said. "Their presence is enough."
The background: Patrick was sitting in his car in the 300 block of East King Street in York City about 12:25 a.m. June 14, 2014, waiting to drive people home from a party, when Green walked up to the car and fired twice into the driver-side window before running away, according to York City Police.
Patrick, of West Manchester Township, died of a gunshot wound to the torso. The reckless endangerment counts are for the half-dozen young women in and around the BMW at the time.
During his guilty plea, Green told the court he had been drinking Hennessy cognac and popping Xanax pills that day, and he smoked K2, also known as spice and synthetic marijuana, before going to the party.
After the party broke up, people were hanging around outside, and Green maintains he heard Patrick call him b—. Green said he walked over to the car, pulled his .380 handgun — which he said he bought "on the streets" for $180 — and fired it twice into the driver-side area of the car.
The maximum sentence Trebilcock could have handed down was 32 to 64 years. Maisch asked the judge to consider the wealth of troubling information about Green that was revealed during the teen's juvenile decertification hearing. That hearing, held in July 2015, was to determine if Green's case should be moved to juvenile court.
A judge ruled Green would stand trial as an adult and noted the teen is "seasoned into the criminal culture."
Troubled childhood: Green had been kicked out of two preschool programs by the age of 3; had killed a cat with a BB gun out of boredom before he turned 10; and had made threats with an air rifle at school by the time he was 12, according to testimony from the decertification hearing.
A forensic psychiatrist retained by the prosecution testified Green has antisocial personality disorder but isn't mentally ill.
A month before the murder, Green was in illegal possession of a loaded handgun and ran from York City officers trying to arrest him for it, according to documents previously obtained by The York Dispatch.
Green fled from the 900 block of Wellington Street when officers arrived, and he dropped a loaded .40-caliber Smith & Wesson, which police seized, those documents state. Green got away, but officers arrested him five days later for having the illegal gun, at which point Green thrice gave police a fake name, according to documents.
The officers contacted the county's juvenile probation department about having Green committed to juvenile detention, but no beds were available anywhere, documents state.
Green was 6 feet tall and 170 pounds at the time of the murder and was a student at Jackson K-8, according to court documents.
'Not perfect': He apologized Thursday to the Winter family "for the mistakes I made" and called the murder "the worst decision I ever made."
Green said that while he's not perfect, he's trying to change and is not the "bad person" his court record portrays him as being.
Trebilcock expressed frustration at the level of gun violence in York and said everyone bears responsibility to change it, including police, judges and the community itself.
"It has gotten out of hand. It's crazy," he said. "We are killing our children with all these guns. ... It has to end."
'Defined of violence': But that doesn't minimize Green's own culpability, according to the judge, who noted Green assaulted five people while in York County Prison and also threatened a deputy warden and corrections officers.
"His whole life has been defined by violence. ... He took a young man's life while he was wasted on drugs," Trebilcock said. "The defendant had multiple chances ... to change his destructive behaviors but has not."
The judge said Green has "been a bad actor out on the street, and he's been a bad actor in the prison" but that the teen's "day of reckoning" had come.
Still, Trebilcock noted, if Green is sincere about wanting to turn his life around, there are programs in the state prison system that will help him do that.
And if the change is real, it would certainly weigh in his favor once he's eventually eligible for parole, giving Green "an opportunity to come out and have some kind of life going forward."
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.