Fifteen-year-old Omaha boy gets decades in prison in killing

January 31, 2019 GMT
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This undated booking photo from Douglas County (Neb.) Corrections Department shows Tyon Wells. A judge has sentenced the 15-year-old boy to 22 to 48 years in prison in the fatal shooting of an Omaha teenager during a dispute that prosecutors say involved drugs. Wells was sentenced Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, after pleading no contest in November to second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Zachary Parker. (Douglas County Corrections Department via AP)
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This undated booking photo from Douglas County (Neb.) Corrections Department shows Tyon Wells. A judge has sentenced the 15-year-old boy to 22 to 48 years in prison in the fatal shooting of an Omaha teenager during a dispute that prosecutors say involved drugs. Wells was sentenced Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, after pleading no contest in November to second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Zachary Parker. (Douglas County Corrections Department via AP)

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A judge has sentenced a 15-year-old boy to 22 to 48 years in prison in the fatal shooting of an Omaha teenager during a dispute that prosecutors say involved drugs.

Tyon Wells was sentenced Wednesday after pleading no contest in November to second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Zachary Parker . Wells shot Parker in February in a dispute over marijuana, prosecutors said.

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Wells’ defense attorney, Kevin Ryan, sought to have his client tried in juvenile court, noting that Wells had just recently turned 14 when the shooting occurred. Douglas County District Court Judge Shelly Stratman refused and tried Wells as an adult, noting his connections to gang life, drug use and violence at school.

Stratman encouraged Wells to find a positive path and said he should take this opportunity to challenge and educate himself.

“Zachary doesn’t have a second chance, but you do,” Stratman said. “You have the opportunity to take those steps so this isn’t the only thing people remember you for.”

Wells could be eligible for parole in 11 years, according to state law.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said the shooting was just one of many homicides cases connected to marijuana deals.

“A lot of times we hear people say: ‘It’s just marijuana, just a small amount of marijuana,’” Kleine said. “Talk about sad. On all sides. You have a young person whose life has been taken and a young person who’s going to go to the penitentiary now for a long period of time. It’s extremely troubling.”

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com