JACKSON SQ.—Two gangs members—Timothy Hearns and Ramon Silvelo-Miles—pled guilty last month to their roles in the 2010 Jamaica Plain shooting death of 14-year-old Jaewon Martin, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.
Martin, a Roxbury resident and honor student who was not in a gang, was shot to death May 8, 2010 at a Southwest Corridor Park basketball court next to the Bromley-Heath housing development. Family members said he had paused to play some basketball while on his way to buy Mother’s Day presents.
Hearns, 24, and Silvelo-Miles, 25, are members of the Roxbury-based H-Block gang, which feuds with the Bromley-Heath-based Heath Street gang. They pled guilty to manslaughter and three counts of armed assault with intent to murder and related offenses for firing at three other teens during the shooting. A 16-year-old boy was wounded in the attack.
Hearns, who admitted to committing the shooting, was sentenced to a total of 31 to 32 years in state prison with five years of probation after his release, while Silvelo-Miles, who accompanied Hearns to the scene, was sentenced to nine to 10 years in state prison followed by three years of probation.
Although Hearns and Silvelo-Miles were indicted for first-degree murder, prosecutors said they accepted the guilty pleas for strategic reasons: the two defendants could have pointed the finger at each other in separate trials and the main witnesses were fellow gang members who might be reluctant to testify and whose veracity could be questioned because of their criminal histories.
Martin’s killing was among JP’s most infamous, sparking widespread fear and outrage. At the time, Gov. Deval Patrick met with Martin’s family and called for stricter gun laws.
In addition, Martin’s killing happened only three years after a similar crime in Bromley-Heath. In 2007, two gang members from Academy Homes/New Academy Estates on the other side of Jackson Square shot a 13-year-old Mission Hill boy to death after mistaking him for a rival gang member. Prosecutors also ran into difficulty in that case, as the gang members intimidated a witness at gunpoint and had an associate lie in court about her involvement.