Man gets 60 years to life in prison for 2008 shooting in Bedford Dwellings

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A man convicted of killing someone who died of complications from his gunshot wounds years later was sentenced this morning to 60 years to life in prison.

John Coastan was 17 when he shot 22-year-old Justin Fowler while Fowler walked toward a set of steps in the Bedford Dwellings housing complex Oct. 1, 2008.

Because Coastan was a juvenile at the time of the shooting, he was sentenced under rules barring death sentences and mandatory life sentences for juveniles, said Mike Manko, spokesman for the Allegheny County district attorney's office.

Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Kevin Sasinoski sentenced Coastan to 40 years to life this morning on a second-degree murder charge and added 20 years for additional crimes committed during the shooting, bringing Coastan's total sentence to 60 years to life.

Fowler died at his White Hill Drive home on Dec. 28, 2011, three years after the shooting left him paralyzed from the chest down. The Allegheny County medical examiner's office ruled that Mr. Fowler died of "complications of paralysis due to a remote gunshot wound to the trunk" and labeled his death a homicide.

Pittsburgh police wrote in a criminal complaint that a witness identified Coastan and another man, Malik Williams, who was 15 at the time of the shooting, as running up behind Fowler and firing shots. Mr. Williams was found not guilty during a trial last year.


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