Renee Coyner's family was "shattered" when her son Jordan, a 20-year-old Slippery Rock University student, was killed.
"All of my family's hopes and dreams were stolen from us," she said Thursday, as she testified at a sentencing hearing for three men convicted in his 2012 shooting death.
The memory of the loss is constant, there in the empty seat at the Steelers games that Richard Coyner said he and his son loved to attend and at the kitchen table that once seated a family of four and now seats just three, two parents who have lost a son and another son who has lost his older brother.
"We now sit and look at that empty seat, talking about our son Jordan rather than with him," Ms. Coyner said.
Richard and Renee Coyner spoke about their loss in an Allegheny County courtroom, sharing their sorrow before Common Pleas Judge Philip A. Ignelzi.
Judge Ignelzi sentenced 24-year-old Devele Reid of Hazelwood to life in prison without parole, the mandatory sentence for his second-degree murder conviction. Reid also received concurrent sentences of five to 10 years for robbery, four to eight years for conspiracy to commit robbery and three to six years for possessing a firearm without a license.
In a subsequent sentencing hearing, Jon Lee, 18, and Brandon Lind, 19, both of whom were convicted of third-degree murder, were sentenced to 14 to 30 years in prison. They also will serve concurrent sentences of five to 10 years for robbery and four to eight years for conspiracy to commit robbery.
During Reid's hearing and then again at the hearing for Lee and Lind, Judge Ignelzi said that the case was more than tragic.
"I'm not sure the word 'tragic' is strong enough to describe the facts of this case," he said at the second hearing.
Coyner was killed June 18, 2012, when a group of five young men drove to his parents' home in Kennedy, planning to rob him because he sold marijuana and they believed he had cash in the home they could take.
According to evidence that has been presented during the men's judicial proceedings, it was Reid who fired the shot that killed Coyner. Lind, who played on the Montour High School golf team with Coyner's brother, was the one who identified Coyner as the target and drove the car to his house. Lee, Reid, and Dmetrei McCann, who was tried in juvenile court, went up to Coyner's house. Michael Shearn, a juvenile who was not charged, stayed in the car.
Mr. Coyner, who was home when his son was shot, said he cannot get the sound of the gunshot out of his head.
"Every day, I struggle with the what ifs of that night," he said.
Lee and Lind both apologized to the Coyner family at the hearing.
"I just made a very stupid decision out of greed," Lind told them.
Lee told the Coyners, "There's not a day that I'm not plagued by some kind of remorse of the actions I took that day."
Lee's attorney, Aaron Sontz, argued that his client's case should have been heard in juvenile court. Three leaders of Lee's church, New Covenant Christian Fellowship, spoke in his defense, asking Judge Ignelzi to show mercy in his sentence.
Judge Ignelzi said mercy had already been shown to them, in that Lee and Lind received third-degree murder convictions, rather than second degree.
"Both of you had many opportunities to stop what you put into action," he said.
Patrick Thomassey, the defense attorney representing Lind, told Judge Ignelzi that there was "a lot of blame to go around," asking where all the parents were and bringing up the presence of large amounts of marijuana and cash in Jordan Coyner's possession.
"Nobody's innocent in this case, Judge. Nobody," Mr. Thomassey said.
"No question about it," Judge Ignelzi said.
Kaitlynn riely: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1707. First Published March 13, 2014 1:56 PM