2 plead guilty to teen’s killing in Jamaica Plain

Jaewon Martin was killed in May 2010 after prosecutors said two men went to a basketball court where Martin and other teens were playing and opened fire, thinking the teens were rival gang members.
Jaewon Martin was killed in May 2010 after prosecutors said two men went to a basketball court where Martin and other teens were playing and opened fire, thinking the teens were rival gang members.

“Six years older than Jaewon, you should have been trying to teach these kids something positive, not taking someone’s life.”

Those were the haunting words of Nicole Martin, spoken Thursday to the two gang members who were responsible for the fatal shooting of her 14-year-old son in Jamaica Plain in May 2010, according to a statement from District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office.

Martin, the mother of Jaewon Martin, was talking to Timothy Hearns and Ramon Silvelo-Miles, both 24, who pleaded guilty in Suffolk Superior Court in the slaying and received lengthy prison terms.


Hearns was sentenced to 31 to 32 years and Silvelo-Miles to nine to 10 years in state prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter and related charges in Jaewon’s killing, which came on the afternoon before Mother’s Day.

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“Your actions have consequences,” Martin said, according to the statement. “This plea agreement will put to end four long years of heartache and frustration over endless court dates, delays, waiting, and will ensure that you will spend many years behind bars. No amount of time is going to bring Jaewon back.”

She added, “I will be monitoring your release and probation. I will be at every hearing allowed.”

Prosecutors said Hearns, the admitted shooter, and Silvelo-Miles, his accomplice, were involved in a violent feud with a rival gang when they traveled to the other group’s Heath Street turf intending to shoot someone.

Hearns approached a basketball court near the Bromley-Heath housing development where Martin and other teens were gathered, firing shots that struck Martin and grazed another boy, who was then 15, according to Conley’s office.


Prosecutors said during a September 2010 arraignment that the defendants mistook Martin and his friends for rival gang members.

Silvelo-Miles accompanied Hearns to the scene and shared his violent intent, authorities said.

Jaewon Martin’s grandmother, Susie Martin, said in a phone interview that her family has agonized over the case.

“Just to kill for no reason at all,” she said. “It’s been bothering us for four years. And to have some kind of closure, it’s not going to bring my baby back, but [it is good] knowing they are off the street for a while, so they can’t hurt any other kids.”

Conley’s office said both men had been indicted on charges of first-degree murder, which carries a mandatory life sentence without parole, but prosecutors ultimately allowed them to plead guilty to lesser charges.


That decision was reached because of the lengthy sentence imposed on Hearns and because of the likelihood that he and Silvelo-Miles would have had separate trials and then could have blamed one another in front of different juries, Conley’s office said.

In addition, prosecutors said that the credibility of their main witnesses, who were gang members, could have been challenged.

Those witnesses also would have been reluctant to testify.

The district attorney’s office also noted that the guilty pleas bar either man from pursuing post-conviction appeals.

Hearns’s attorney, Daniel Beck, did not return a call seeking comment Thursday. John Galvin, a lawyer for Silvelo-Miles, declined to comment.

Working telephone numbers for Hearns's relatives could not be located, and calls to possible relatives of Silvelo-Miles were not returned Thursday evening.

The slaying of Martin, whose family described him as a loving son and standout student at James P. Timilty Middle School in Roxbury, galvanized city leaders at the time to redouble their efforts to combat crime. Then-Mayor Thomas M. Menino pledged regular meetings with clergy to devise a strategy to stem violence.

On Thursday, the Rev. William E. Dickerson II, pastor of Greater Love Tabernacle Church in Dorchester, where Martin's funeral was held, said his thoughts were with the slain boy’s family.

“My heart and prayers go out to Nicole Martin and the entire family,” he said.

“Although they find a sense of closure in this one area, they still have the loss of the presence of Jaewon.”

Maria Cramer of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.