Lamont Koker, 18, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 10 years extended supervision by Racine County Felony Court Judge John Jude on Tuesday for shooting a rival gang member.

Naceir Mayes, who was 16-years-old at the time, and Koker, who was 17-years-old at the time, were charged last year with a mix of charges. The most serious of which was first degree attempted intentional homicide, after police said the two boys confronted a rival gang member at about noon Jan. 21 at the transit center on State Street. The boy was shot twice; one bullet struck him in the chest, and the other bullet passed through the sleeve of his sweatshirt but did not hit him.

Koker agreed last December to plead no contest to the charges against him. He faced a possible sentence up to almost 61 years in prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines. Prosecuting attorney Dirk Christian Jensen proposed that Koker should be sentenced to 15 to 18 years in prison

“He did everything in his power to do it,” Jensen said. “He (Lamont) shot him in the chest and I think a prolonged period of incarceration is necessary with a significant period of supervision. He needs to be taken out of the community and protected from his behavior, but a message also needs to be sent to others in this community that you can’t just walk around with loaded weapons, take them out and start shooting them at someone to resolve problems.

The defendants were both armed when they reportedly went to the bus station to confront the boy.

But Jude sentenced Koker to 10 years in prison and 10 years extended supervision. He explained to a packed courtroom that Koker chose to live a gang lifestyle, carry a gun, and to resolve issues with violence.

“You were carrying around a weapon, a loaded weapon… like pocket change and this was your daily life,” Jude said. “You and Mr. Mayes both individually shot a gun and (he) was struck in the chest. He survived and he has recovered…  but we’re fortunate that no one has died.

“But this cycle of violence needs to end. No one deserves to die.”

Still, Jude said he wanted to give Koker the opportunity to stop the cycle of violence and transform his lifestyle because he understood that — given Koker’s age — had not reached maturity and his brain was still developing. By sentencing him to 10 years in prison (with credit for the year he had already served) Koker would be able to be released before the age of 30.

“But you have to decide how you are going to define yourself and I can’t help you with that,” Jude said. “You have to make the decision as to what path you are going to go.”

Jude noted how Koker had no prior convictions, that he was in the process of getting his GED, and he had some family to support him.

During the sentence hearing, Koker started to weep as his father Jeremy Koker offered apologies to the victim’s family for what Lamont did to the 17-year-old boy, but the victim was not in the courtroom.

“Still, I know what my son is capable of… and I ask for your mercy,” Jeremy said.

Lamont also apologized to the victim, to his and the victim’s family, and the community for his actions.

“While I was destined to have a much better future in life than my actions here have shown, I am sorry for my actions…and I take full responsibility for all of my actions,” Lamont said. “I know what I did was wrong… and I hope to become a better person than the one standing before you today.”

Mayes will be in court March 28 for his final pre-trial conference, and his jury trial is scheduled to begin April 5.

 

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.

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