Wyandanch teenager sentenced in gang murder
If anything good comes from her son's murder, a Wyandanch mother said it would be that his teenage killer's tough sentence sends a message to her crime-ridden community.
Gabriel Hubbard, now 19, of Wyandanch, was convicted last month of second-degree murder for shooting at members of a rival gang after they got the better of him in a street fight earlier that day in July 2008.
He fired an assault rifle 10 times from a tree at members of the Brave Hearts gang, killing Jaquan Jones, 18, who had just graduated from Wyandanch High School.
Suffolk County Court Judge Martin Efman on Thursday sentenced Hubbard to 15 years to life, the maximum for a juvenile offender. Hubbard was a member of the rival Overly Thugged Out street gang, witnesses testified at the trial.
Jones' mother, Patricia Jones, said she was pleased with the sentence.
"This verdict will deter some of the crime that's happening in our community," she said.
In court, she told Efman she waited a long time for this day.
"I ask you to keep in mind that our sentence started almost four years ago, when Gabriel Hubbard decided to execute our firstborn son," she said, as her husband, John, stood by her side, holding a framed photo of their son. "I have to live with the pain that he's caused."
Assistant District Attorney Raphael Pearl said Hubbard's shots hit four people, and everyone was lucky the body count was not higher.
"This defendant shows no remorse," Pearl said. "He deserves no mercy."
Hubbard softly said that he was not guilty of the crime.
Because of that, defense attorney Jason Bassett of Central Islip said it would be inappropriate for Hubbard to be remorseful for something he didn't do.
He asked for a lighter sentence, arguing that Hubbard wasn't convicted of intentionally killing Jones, and that Hubbard lived a law-abiding life after he fled the Wyandanch gang scene to live in North Carolina, where Suffolk police tracked him down in 2010.
"He has matured in leaps and bounds," Bassett said, adding that whenever he gets out of prison, he believes his client will be a productive member of society. "Your honor, Gabriel Hubbard deserves a second chance."
"There are many things for which you get a second chance in life, but not when you take a life in such a senseless manner," he said.