A man originally ordered to serve five to 10 years in prison for his role in a Downtown shooting last year had his penalty reduced this afternoon.
Hassan Howze, 23, of Overbrook, filed a motion for reconsideration following his sentencing Feb. 28 before Common Pleas Judge Joseph K. Williams III.
Howze, who was found guilty of aggravated assault and recklessly endangering another person, argued that the mandatory penalty imposed by Judge Williams was illegal following a U.S. Supreme Court decision that said that a jury must make a specific finding beyond a reasonable doubt on the element of the crime requiring the increased mandatory penalty. In the Howze case, that element was the gun, and the jury made no such finding.
Because of that, Judge Williams reduced the penalty against Howze to two to four years in prison to be followed by five years of probation.
The judge noted that Howze had no criminal record, had a job and a license to carry a firearm.
The incident occurred April 5, 2013, on Fifth Avenue outside the Capital Grille. Both Howze and his brother, Antonio Peterson, testified at trial that there was a fight that day between them and Jamel Terry. According to the prosecution, when Peterson started to lose the fight, Howze pulled the gun and first tried to hit Mr. Terry. There was then a fight over the weapon. A bullet was fired, which caused a grazing bullet wound to Mr. Terry and struck Howze in the groin.