By Safia Samee Ali, NBC News
CHICAGO – Two gang members who were convicted in the 2015 execution-style revenge killing of a 9-year-old boy were sentenced to a combined 155 years in prison Wednesday.
Dwright Boone-Doty, 25, and Corey Morgan, 31, were found guilty of first-degree murder by two separate juries in October for the slaying of Tyshawn Lee, the young son of a rival gang member whom the duo deliberately hunted down.
Boone-Doty, who was the gunman, was sentenced to 90 years in prison and Morgan, who hatched the revenge plot to kill the fourth grader, received 65 years behind bars.
“Where does this stop? Where does this mind-numbing, senseless violence stop? It stops with grandmas, mamas and innocent children trying to play at a public park,” Judge Thaddeus L. Wilson said as he handed down the sentence, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “Grandmas, mamas, kids and all are not fair game, and they matter to us.”
Prosecutors read aloud a victim statement written by Tyshawn’s grandmother and great-grandmother in court as the two women wiped away tears, according to the newspaper.
“All Tyshawn wanted was to grow up and be loved. You murderers took that from him,” the statement read. “The words ‘in cold blood’ does not do justice.”
However, defense attorneys tried to shift the focus to the childhood of the two convicted men to extract leniency, the newspaper reported.
The sister of Boone-Doty described him as a “troubled” yet “helpful, protective brother” who came from an “impoverished childhood.” He was like Tyshawn and loved basketball but turned to the streets after his grandfather, who raised him, passed away.
Morgan also had a difficult past, his attorneys said. While he was raised by a loving mother, his father was a crack addict who once stole his Christmas presents from under the tree.
The two men were convicted after prosecutors successfully proved that they plotted the fourth grader’s murder for nearly three weeks to retaliate against the boy’s father who may have been involved in the killing of Morgan’s brother and the wounding of his mother in a violent encounter weeks earlier.
The grisly details of the attack on the boy sent shivers throughout Chicago, largely because it set a rare precedent of targeting children in street gang warfare.
The two men sought out the fourth grader after he left school on the city’s South Side in November 2015.
Boone-Doty struck up a conversation with Tyshawn while he sat on a swing at a park and eventually convinced the boy to follow him to a nearby alley under the guise of buying him a snack while Morgan watched from a nearby parked car.
After luring him there, Boone-Doty shot the boy point-blank multiple times and left him to die.
Prosecutors referenced the autopsy report during the sentencing hearing which showed that the boy was hit in the head, twice in the right hand, and also suffered a graze wound to the back — all in close range. Part of his right thumb had been blown off by a bullet when he raised his hands in vain to block the shots.
“Morgan wanted revenge,” prosecutor Margaret Hillmann said in her opening statements during the murder trial earlier this year. “He was in a murderous rage, saying he was going to kill grandmas, mammas, kids and whoever he could catch.”
Boone-Doty allegedly confessed to the boy’s killing and even wrote a rap song about him, according to a fellow inmate who was working as a police informant.
“You ain’t never stepped back and thought, damn, I shouldn’t have did that?” the informant asked on the recording.
“No, I don’t got that in my head, not even a little bit,” Boone-Doty replied. “Ain’t no age. Period. Age 8 to 80,” he said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “Eight days, eight seconds in this world, or 80 years, this is what I’m telling you.”