Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Brandon Johnson’s family had hoped for more.
They settled for less and the chance to move forward with their lives.
After several delays, Niagara County Court Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas finally sent Cordero Gibson to prison for 15 years on Wednesday morning. He had faced a sentencing cap of 18 years for his guilty plea to a charge of first-degree manslaughter in the slaying of Johnson.
“They thought (Gibson) should have gotten the maximum sentence,” First Assistant District Attorney Doreen Hoffmann said of the family’s reaction to Farkas’ sentence. “But I explained to them what I think was the judge’s reasoning and they accepted that. What they really want to do is move forward from here.”
Gibson’s sentencing had been delayed first by his request to withdraw his guilty plea and then by his refusal to meet with Niagara County Probation officers. The officers are responsible for preparing a pre-sentencing report that is required by law and guides the judge in imposing punishment
In handing down her sertence, Farkas called Gibson, “a coward.”
Gibson had been charged with second-degree murder, before pleading guilty in a plea deal with prosecutors, to a single count of first-degree manslaughter. His co-defendant, Gordon Jackson, pleaded guilty to a single count of second-degree murder and has already been sentenced to 21 years to life in prison.
The pair were charged with gunning down Johnson, 20, a Niagara University student, in a University Court apartment on Dec. 8, 2011.