Stepdad of teen who shot York man convicted of robbery in federal court
The ersatz stepfather of a York City teen who shot her friend Shyhiem McDowell in the head about 2½ years ago is expected to serve years in federal prison for his role in the robbery and shooting.
McDowell, then 18 years old, was critically wounded in the Jan. 9, 2016, shooting in the yard of a home in the 300 block of Girard Avenue.
Days later, York City Police charged then-16-year-old Hydiea Banks of York City with McDowell's attempted homicide.
A federal grand jury on April 19, 2017, indicted Anthony Donnell Johnson — Banks' de facto stepfather — on charges of robbery and using a firearm in commission of a crime of violence.
On April 26, 2017, a federal magistrate ordered Johnson be detained while awaiting trial, stating Johnson is a danger to the community and a flight risk.
Johnson, 51, of South Albemarle Street in York City, remains in York County Prison on his federal detainer.
A federal jury on Thursday, May 16, convicted Johnson of robbery and using a gun in the commission of a violent crime, according to court records. He is now awaiting sentencing; that date has not yet been set.
The jury found that the handgun used to shoot McDowell, a 9 mm pistol, was stolen, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Harrisburg. It was recovered during the arrest of Banks, York City Police have said.
Lifelong injuries: Testimony during Johnson's trial in Harrisburg's federal court revealed that McDowell remained in a comatose state for at least four months after being shot and had to undergo three brain surgeries and other "life-saving medical interventions," according to a news release from Dawn Clark, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office.
McDowell's family previously told The York Dispatch that he is disabled and will never be able to live independently. He will soon turn 22 years old.
Because Johnson was convicted of discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, a mandatory minimum punishment of 10 years will be added to whatever sentence he receives for the robbery, according to Clark.
Shortly after the shooting, Johnson confessed to police that he and Banks "formed a plan to rob Shyhiem McDowell," court documents state. While "freely admitting" he was part of the robbery, he denied being the person who shot McDowell, according to documents.
Johnson also told York City detectives that Banks took McDowell's iPhone during the robbery, police allege.
On Dec. 7, 2017, Banks pleaded guilty in York County Court to aggravated assault and was sentenced to eight to 16 years in state prison.
She was 16 when she shot McDowell in the head. Charges of attempted homicide and robbery were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
At her plea and sentencing hearing, Banks said she'd slept over at McDowell's home the night before. The two were platonic friends, she said.
Robbed at gunpoint: Johnson followed them, pulled a gun on McDowell and instructed Banks to go through his pockets, Banks said in court.
She said she took cash, a cellphone, drugs and a gun from McDowell, then gave the cash and drugs to her stepfather. She said she kept McDowell's gun and phone.
Banks said Johnson took off after getting the cash and drugs, leaving her alone in the alley with McDowell.
"That's when me and him started fighting and ... the gun went off," she said.
Clark has said Johnson was charged federally as part of the U.S. Attorney's Office's ongoing Violent Crime Reduction Partnership. The purpose of the initiative is to combat the spread of violent crime and focus on catching and prosecuting those who commit violent crimes with firearms, she said.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.