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Two plead no contest in shooting of 12-year-old York City boy

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
Eric Bones

Two men charged in the shooting of a 12-year-old boy in 2018 have avoided trial by entering no-contest pleas.

Jah'Zion "NBA" Smallwood and Eric Ngai Bones Jr., both 19 and of York City, were listed for possible trial this week in York County Court.

Instead, each entered a plea of no contest to second-degree felony aggravated assault on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

In exchange for their pleas, other charges — including attempted first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit that offense — were dismissed, according to court records.

Bones, known as "Lethal," is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 27; Smallwood's sentencing is set for Feb. 28, court records state.

Common Pleas Judge Gregory M. Snyder ordered pre-sentence reports be done on both men to help him determine appropriate punishments.

A third co-defendant, former York City resident Stephen Gerhardt, is scheduled to have a pretrial conference on Feb. 13, according to court records.

Gerhardt's case was severed from Bones' and Smallwood's cases because he is a cooperating witness, said Kyle King, spokesman for the York County District Attorney's Office.

All three co-defendants remain free on bail, court records state.

Jah'Zion Smallwood

The background: York City Police have said the 12-year-old boy was shot in the 100 block of Stevens Avenue about 10:15 p.m. Sept. 9, 2018.

A bullet struck him under his right armpit as he was walking to a corner store with his mother, police said.

The boy was taken to York Hospital, then transferred to Hershey Medical Center, and eventually he was released to recover at home, police have said.

Stephen Gerhardt

Gerhardt, now of Honesdale, Wayne County, told investigators he had picked up Smallwood, Bones and a person known as "WOP" that day and drove them to Parkway Boulevard to find someone who owed them money, officials said.

Smallwood sat in the front passenger seat and Bones sat in the rear passenger seat, court documents state. 

Gerhardt drove them around for about 15 minutes until they saw the person walking on Hamilton Avenue, police said. Police say Smallwood and Bones fired between 15 and 20 bullets at the person, but missed him.

Instead, they shot the boy.

Gerhardt shot: Three days later, Gerhardt also was shot, according to police, who said it happened in the first block of Dewey Street in West York.

West York Police said Gerhardt, Smallwood and "E.B." went to the block to buy drugs on Sept. 12, 2018.

Gerhardt told investigators someone fired at them as they came around a corner, prompting "E.B." to return fire, according to police.

Gerhardt was struck in the torso and through the arm, police said.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.