Teen sentenced to 29 years in subway shooting

With family members of the teenager he was convicted of shooting in 2007 watching in the courtroom, Robert Denis, 19, was sentenced Wednesday to 29 years in prison.

He will be eligible for parole after 21 years, said his lawyer William Flack.

“My client was originally offered 35 years to life,” said Flack, who said he was glad that he was able to get Denis’ sentence reduced.

Yesterday’s sentencing was the end of a long road for the family of Rayquon Story, who was gunned down by then-16-year-old Denis in 2007.

Story was with a group of three friends on the No. 5 train at Dyre Avenue, when Denis opened fire with a .38 caliber revolver killing Story and injuring the three other young men, Joseph Lacombe, Marlon Lacombe and Lawrence Garcia. Story was shot twice – once in the neck, once in the thigh. Marlon Lacombe was also shot and still has the bullet lodged in his body, said the prosecutor. Garcia, according to Flack, said that he and his friends had plans to “bust up” Denis that night. Denis knew of the teens’ plan and fired three to five shots at the group of friends.

Denis expressed remorse in court Wednesday. “I apologize to the deceased and the victims and apologize to their family and friends,” Denis said. “I will live with this for the rest of my life.”

Denis did not have a criminal record before the shooting. The maximum sentence for first-degree manslaughter is 50 years. The judge took his age and clean criminal record into account and gave him the lower sentence of 29 years.

“That’s nothing for taking someone’s life, I don’t accept it, that’s not closure,” said Vanessa Belle, Story’s aunt. “He can come back out here and do it to somebody else.”

Belle was one of the victim’s many relatives who left the courthouse disappointed .

“As a mother I’m disappointed, he should be doing life for taking someone’s life,” said Tornette Story, the victim’s mother.

Story was pregnant at the time of her son’s murder, said her daughter, Tarnel Joie, 17. The stress caused her to go into cardiac arrest and have an emergency cesarean section in January of 2008. Her infant daughter had a tracheotomy and now, three years later, doctors do not know if she will ever be able to live without it, Joie said.  Joie was 13 when her brother was killed, and with tears pouring down her face, she spoke at Wednesday’s sentencing.

“He was my everything,” she said, and went on to say how hard it is to tell her younger sister about their older brother’s death. “She only knows him through pictures.”

Story links her three-year-old’s tracheotomy to her son’s death. “There is a hole in my daughter’s neck, right where Rayquon was shot,” she said. “It is an everyday reminder of what happened.”

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