Gang members Antwaine Jones, 19, left, and Keshawn Jennings, 21, are sentenced in Lucas County Common Pleas Court for the shooting death of toddler Keondra Hooks at Moody Manor.
The years were adding up — 30 to life, plus one, plus eight, and on, until the total reached 40 years to life on all counts — and Antwaine Jones had heard enough.
The 19-year-old Toledo gang member, convicted earlier this month of killing a 1-year-old girl and wounding her 2-year-old sister last summer, stood and shouted Tuesday while Lucas County sheriff’s deputies pushed on the teen’s shoulders trying to get him to sit and calm down.
For killing Keondra Hooks, Jennings and Jones were each given life sentences for aggravated murder that carry the possibility of parole after 30 years. They also received mandatory one-year sentences for using a gun in the crime.
Judge Frederick McDonald also imposed eight-year sentences on each defendant for felonious assault on the victim's sister, and an additional one year for a gun specification on the conviction, which will run consecutive to the aggravated murder convictions.
The jury also returned guilty verdicts on other counts in the shooting for which Jennings and Jones will serve concurrently. The sentences for those crimes include nine years for felonious assaults and gun specifications for the two adults and another child who were in the apartment and 12 years for the attempted murder on the person they intended to shoot but was not in the home.
Judge McDonald merged murder and improperly discharging a firearm at or into a habitation and accompany firearms specifications with other convictions in the case.
RELATED: Read The Blade's full gang coverage.
“Get the ... off me, man,” he said, starting to cry, at his sentencing in Lucas County Common Pleas Court. “I didn’t do nothing, man. You’re ... my life up, man.”
All the while, Judge Frederick McDonald continued to hand down the sentence. Jones’ family began to walk out of the courtroom, one woman, as she left, said toward Jones, “You should have told, T-T.”
Jones and his co-defendant, fellow Manor Boy Keshawn Jennings, 21, also of Toledo, were ordered to spend 40 years to life in prison after being found guilty by a jury July 5 of aggravated murder, murder, improperly discharging a firearm into a habitation, attempted murder, four counts of felonious assault, and eight gun specifications for shooting 16 times into a Moody Manor apartment Aug. 9.
Jennings and Jones faced up to life in prison without parole; they were granted a credit of 287 days for time served.
Both defendants have indicated they intend to appeal.
Antwaine Jones, 19, is restrained after an outburst during his sentencing hearing in the 2012 shooting death of toddler Keondra Hooks at Moody Manor.
A third co-defendant, James Moore, 21, testified against his friends during the trial and, in return, accepted a 3-year sentence July 11 for involuntary manslaughter.
Killed in the gang-related shooting was Keondra Hooks, 1; her sister, Leondra Hooks, now 3, was seriously injured.
Prior to being sentenced, both men addressed the family of Keondra and Leondra Hooks.
“My condolences go out to that family,” Jennings said.
Jones, however, denied the accusations against him.
“All due respect to the Hooks family,” Jones said in court. “I feel sympathy for them. … I can't imagine my family going through a tragedy like that … but I had nothing to do with your child or the other child getting injured.”
Early in the investigation, police said the shooting was Bloods versus Crips.
A rumor was spread that a Crips gang member was on Manor Boyz — Bloods — turf, apparently prompting the shooting. Prosecutors said the men fired into the wrong apartment where the toddlers were asleep on the floor.
Police declined to specify which Crips gang was targeted.
Naomi Reed was in the Moody Manor apartment when the shooting happened. She picked up a bloodied Keondra, who was shot in the head, and carried her out of the apartment, into a storm, screaming for help.
She recalled that experience in court Tuesday and said the death of her great-granddaughter has left her with “endless tears, sleepless nights, a void left in my heart.”
Quentorria Snowden, the girls’ mother, said her life is “destroyed.”
Leondra defied doctors’ predictions that she’d never walk again, although she still has nightmares and, daily, asks about Keondra, she said.
Quentorria Snowden reads a victim's impact statement during sentencing for the killers of her toddler daughter. She said her life was destroyed by the gang-related shooting that killed Keondra Hooks, 1.
Deandre Hooks, the girls’ father, spoke after the sentencing.
“Every day I wake up and go to work, I think about it,” he said about Keondra’s death. “I can ride down the street, I think about it. Everything I do, I think about it. I see a little kid, I think about it. Talking to my other kids, I think about it. There’s pictures all around. It’s like a train wrecking in front of me every day I wake up.”
In a rare move, city officials and prosecutors hosted a postsentencing news conference in the same room where, in the days after the shootings, Chief Derrick Diggs boldly promised that police would find the people responsible.
“This was a cowardly act of violence that shocked the community and sent the Toledo Police Department on a manhunt to find who was responsible for this crime,” the chief said.
Kermit Quinn, the lead detective assigned to the “hectic, very complex” and “discouraging at times” case, said he was satisfied with the sentence.
“It was a great day. Keshawn Jennings and Antwaine Jones are monsters and they need to be locked up,” he said. “They need to be where they’re going and hopefully they’ll never see the outside of those prison walls again.”
The defendants’ families declined to comment.
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