Marquis “G” Neal, of Philadelphia, was sentenced to 25 to 50 years Tuesday for what has been described as an execution-style shooting death of J-Quan “Scar” Lewis at the Oakhurst Homes more than a year ago.
Neal, 31, stood motionless as Judge Norman Krumenacker handed down the sentence, described as the harshest possible for a third-degree murder conviction.
He learned his fate minutes after his cousin, Anthony “Mack” Harvey,” 29, also of Philadelphia, was sentenced by Krumenacker to seven years, 10 months to 25 years for his role in the death of Lewis, 21, of Queens, New York.
Cambria County District Attorney Kelly Callihan said she is striving to stem the tide of men coming into the Johnstown area, moving in with women and dealing drugs.
“I’m satisfied with the sentences. I think they send a message that this kind of activity will not be tolerated any more in the city of Johnstown,” she said following the double sentencings.
The sentence handed Neal likely will be appealed, said Johnstown defense attorney Robert Davis Gleason.
“We will probably file an appeal for a sentence modification in regard to the minimum and top sentence,” he said.
Gleason would not disclose the basis for the appeal, but said the sentence did not surprise him.
Neal was the shooter who pulled the trigger three times, with two of the bullets going into each of Lewis’ lungs and the final one in his temple in what Callihan said witnesses described as execution style.
Harvey drove the vehicle taking Neal to and from the Oakhurst Homes area on the day of the slaying.
Both originally were charged with first- degree murder and related charges. Neal was convicted of third-degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault and flight to avoid prosecution.
Harvey was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, two counts of aggravated assault, flight to avoid apprehension and hindering prosecution of another person.
A part of Neal’s sentence was for a weapons charge because, as a convicted felon, he was prohibited from carrying a firearm.
Emotions ran high as Evelyn Lewis, mother of the victim, at times wailed in court and later in the hallway as she recounted the pain of losing her son.
“You took my best friend, my confidant. He was my shoulder,” she said.
Jaquana Badger, of Queens, N.Y., and the mother of Jahmel Lewis, the now 3-year-old son of the victim, said that every day she looks at her son, she relieves that Oct. 1, 2011, day when Lewis was murdered.
“It’s sad how these young men lose their lives every day over senselessness,” she said. “They’re punks who want to be thugs behind triggers.”
The murder took place about 14 hours after Lewis had been involved in a fight with Harvey at Edder’s Den, a bar in the Oakhurst neighborhood.
Witnesses testified during the trial that Lewis had emerged the winner the fight, with Harvey being helped into a minivan by Neal and driven away.
Harvey did not address the victims at the advice of his attorney, Jerome Kaharick.
Neal, the father of three children, said: “I do want to say my actions did cause a lot of people hurt that I’ve got to live with each day for the rest of my life.
“The only thing I can do is ask forgiveness.”
Neal told the court that he has been shot three times, including one time that landed him in the hospital for three weeks.
Nykeia Neal, of Philadelphia, sister of Marquis Neal, told the judge that the actions of her brother leading up to and including the shooting are not reflective of his character and that he is a caring and loving person.
Callihan viewed things differently.
“They never did anything worthwhile in the city of Johnstown,” she said. “This illustrates a problem we have, especially in our housing community.”
It is the Neals and Harveys of the world who are escalating gun issues, Krumenacker said.
“It’s you who gives the lawful owner of firearms a bad name,” he told Neal. “It is you who brings the Second Amendment into the political battle.”
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