CLEVELAND, Ohio — Just weeks before the four-year anniversary of Saniyah Nicholson’s death, three men connected to the 2018 shooting of the 9-year-old Maple Heights girl have been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Wednesday, a judge handed down sentences for co-defendants Damaris Perry, Dyshawn Bonner, and Timothy Greene. All three were charged with involuntary manslaughter, with a 3-year firearm specification.
On June 20, 2018, investigators said a car full of people drove by and fired a gun at the group of defendants walking near Lee Road and Harvard Avenue on Cleveland’s southeast side. The defendants returned gunfire.
Saniyah Nicholson was inside a car with her older sister at the time, waiting while their mother went into a boxing gym to retrieve their brother. A stray bullet hit the child in the head and killed her.
“My baby, she didn’t deserve that. And I wish that they would have weighed the pros and cons of life. But they didn’t,” Marshawnette Daniels, Saniyah’s mother, told the judge Wednesday afternoon. “Any time you fire a gun, you’re firing a gun to kill. Period.”
Saniyah’s older sister was not injured in the gunfight.
“I spent years blaming myself for not dying in the car, but her dying,” the sister said in a victim impact statement.
The little girl’s family pleaded with the judge to impose the maximum sentence.
“I know we all make mistakes. I know that. But some mistakes will cost you the rest of your life,” Daniels said.
At the time, Greene was 20, Bonner was 17 and Perry was 16. Defense attorneys asked the judge to consider their young ages, lack of prior criminal records, and showing of remorse since the shooting.
“This was the reaction of children,” one attorney said.
All three young men addressed Saniyah’s family Wednesday and apologized.
“I’m losing years of my life. I can’t give them back to Saniyah. If I could, I would,” said Perry.
Bonner said, “I made a split-second decision that I’m going to have to live with for the rest of my life. I’m sorry, truly sorry. If I could, I would bring her back, too.”
Greene added, “I hope one day in life you can forgive me for my actions.”
All three men will receive nearly four years of credit for time already served. The judge’s sentence also includes two years of mandatory post-release control for each of the defendants.
Ce’Matizea Andrews, who prosecutors said fired the first shots in the gun fight, was sentenced to 22 years in prison in September 2020.
Aaron George and Brewen Harrison both pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence charges in September 2019 and are awaiting sentencing. A seventh defendant, Devontae Nettles, is awaiting a pre-trial hearing.
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