2 Men Sentenced to Life Without Parole in Downtown Pittsburgh Drive-By Shooting That Killed Toddler

The Associated Press
By The Associated Press
September 13, 2023US News
2 Men Sentenced to Life Without Parole in Downtown Pittsburgh Drive-By Shooting That Killed Toddler
A judge's gavel in a file photo. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH—Two men convicted of murder in a drive-by shooting that left a toddler dead in his car seat in Pittsburgh were sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without possibility of parole.

Markez Anger, 25, and Londell Falconer, 27, were both convicted in June of first-degree murder in the death of 18-month-old De’Avry Thomas, who was fatally shot last year in downtown Pittsburgh.

Prosecutors said Mr. Falconer was driving a vehicle and his passenger, Mr. Anger, fired more than a dozen shots at another vehicle near a prominent downtown building complex, PPG Place, in May 2022. At least one bullet struck Thomas, who was in the back seat of a car driven by his mother. He was pronounced dead at the scene. His mother was uninjured.

Security cameras recorded Mr. Anger leaning out the passenger-side window and shooting at the vehicle De’Avry was in as bystanders nearby began running away, authorities said. They said 13 bullet holes were later found in the vehicle. Security footage from the city’s North Side, where the vehicle was abandoned, showed Mr. Falconer getting out of the driver’s seat, and fingerprints from the defendants were found on a discarded can and the vehicle’s roof, authorities said.

The boy’s mother, Dea’Shea Green, told the judge that she struggles to sleep because every time she closes her eyes the events of that day play over and over in her mind. “It hurts me even more to know, when I found my baby, there was nothing I can do but hold him and wait for help,” she said.

Both defendants maintained their innocence, criticized their attorneys and vowed to seek new trials. Mr. Anger told relatives of the victim that he was sorry for what they have been going through. Mr. Falconer said he had known the boy all his life and knew from the moment he was born “how amazing he was going to be.”

Judge Bruce Beemer imposed the mandatory life-without-parole terms Wednesday, calling the shooting a “brazen, reckless and intentional act” that ended the life of a child. He also sentenced Mr. Anger to another 22½ to 45 years on conspiracy, attempted homicide, and firearms counts and Falconer to another 15 to 30 years for conspiracy and attempted homicide.