Albany Times Union
Three sentenced for role in fatal shooting of mom
SCHENECTADY — Three men charged in connection with the killing of an innocent woman who was shot in the parking lot of an after-hours nightspot in the summer of 2020 were sentenced Monday.
Defendants Warren Cusaac, 34, and Dasaun Parsons, 25, were each sentenced to 8 years behind bars as part of an agreement in which the pair previously pleaded guilty to attempted murder and criminal possession of a weapon in the slaying of Ieasha Merritt, 34.
The mother of a teenage son, Merritt was not the intended target.
Merritt was celebrating the Fourth of July holiday when she was shot and wounded after several gunmen emerged from a parked car and opened fire while aiming for a man with whom they had a disagreement. Merritt died in the hospital five days after she was shot.
Under the terms of the plea deal in both cases, Assistant District Attorney Peter Willis on Monday vacated an attempted murder charge, leaving in place the gun offense to which the two pleaded guilty and were sentenced.
Their third accomplice, Xzobiaire Green, 19, also was sentenced on a gun charge after an attempted murder charge was vacated.
Green apologized to Merritt’s family, none of whom were in court for the proceedings. He was sentenced to 6 years in
Prosecutor Peter Willis read a victim impact statement from Merritt’s mother, Shanta Merritt.
In it, she wrote that she hoped the three defendants would get the maximum sentence and that the decisions they made were heartless and robbed her of her oldest child.
“You three stole a piece of me that will never be replaced,” Willis read from the statement.
Shanta Merritt previously told the Times Union that her 19-year-old son, Daryl Adams, was fatally shot in Queens in 2012.
Police arrested two men immediately after that shooting and the pair were sentenced separately in 2012 and 2013 for his slaying.
Schenectady County Court Judge Matthew Sypniewski rejected Green’s bid to be sentenced as a youthful offender and his excuse that he was forced to shoot or face a possible violent backlash from his buddies for not going along with the plan.
Green was 18 years old at the time of the deadly shooting in the early morning hours of July 5, 2020.
“Nobody forced you to do anything, we make choices in life … so don’t tell me somebody forced you to do it as if that minimizes your level of guilt because it doesn’t,” said the judge, noting that Green fired his weapon but “by the absolute grace of chance” didn’t strike Merritt or anyone else.
All three defendants will be on post-release supervision for five years when they are released from prison.
Prosecutors contend that a fourth man, Tevin Alvarez, was the first of a group of Bloods gang members to jump out of a sedan parked on the side of Hamlin Street in the Hamilton Hill neighborhood near an after-hours club and fire his weapon. Merritt was struck before the other shooters also fired their guns.
In November, Alvarez, 30, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for a sentence of 20 years to life, an agreement that also covered a separate case where Alvarez was charged with jumping bail.
Court papers reviewed by the Times Union earlier this year indicate that on July 4, 2020, the man the gunmen wanted to exact revenge on drew the ire of Alvarez and his friends after allegedly pointing a gun at them while trying to break up a fight involving his nephew and another man at Jerry Burrell Park.