A state judge sentenced a 21-year-old Paterson man to 17 years in prison Thursday for the March 29, 2008 shooting death of a city man who was among those the defendant believed had threatened his brother earlier that night.
Kashif Eleby must serve at least 85 percent of his prison term before becoming eligible for parole.
“We get five, six, seven of these a year, every year, in this city,” said Passaic County Chief Assistant Prosecutor John Latoracca in court. “There’s a dispute that, at worst, should have resulted in a fist fight but because one young man has a handgun, the temptation to use it is just overwhelming,” Latoracca said. “It’s a sad commentary, but at this point, I’ve become numb to it because I see it over and over.”
State Superior Court Judge Raymond A. Reddin in Paterson said he sadly shared the prosecutor’s feelings. “You’re right. People are settling trivial disputes by getting guns and killing each other.”
The defendant pleaded guilty in December to aggravated manslaughter, admitting before Reddin that he fatally shot Kevin Brown once in the chest at North 7th Street in Paterson following a dance party at St. Joseph’s Community Center on Chamberlain Avenue.
Eleby told Reddin at the time of his guilty plea that his brother had been threatened by several people that night and that he went with a gun to confront those who he thought had given his brother a hard time. He admitted to pointing the gun at one man who he believed to be the culprit, just to scare him. He then got into an altercation with Brown, he said, during which he admitted to firing the weapon into Brown’s chest.
The victim was shot in the heart and died a short time later at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson.
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