Metro

Two men sentenced to life in prison for ‘senseless’ slaying of man on snow shoveling crew

Carine Lamour was enveloped with a profound, unexpected sadness as she went to work on Feb. 11, 2015, a darkness that stayed with her through the workday and was still haunting her when she returned to her Hyde Park home.

It was then she learned her son, Kenny Lamour, 21, was dead, shot in the head as he shoveled snow in Jamaica Plain while participating in a program aimed at getting young men out of the gang life.

“I was so sad that day, everybody at work [was] looking at me,’’ Carine Lamour said on Monday. “When I come back home, he was gone. Forever . . . I miss my son.”

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Carine Lamour spoke in Suffolk Superior Court where Superior Court Judge Peter M. Lauriat sentenced two men — members of the Franklin Hill street gang — who were convicted of second-degree murder for the death of Lamour, a Thetford Street gang associate.

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Donte H. Henley and Josiah Zachery received sentences of life in prison with the possibility of parole after a minimum of 20 years served.

Henley, who is now 27, was shoveling snow with Lamour, having joined the same program run by Roca, Inc., a Chelsea-based nonprofit. Henley, according to Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Ian Polumbaum, recognized Lamour as an associate from a competing gang and summoned Zachery to the job site in Jamaica Plain.

Zachery, who is now 21, shot Lamour once in the head, and twice more as he fell to the ground. As he ran from the scene, Zachery fired a shot in the direction of a uniformed Boston police officer, William Louberry, a shot that missed him.

Carine Lamour and the victim’s aunt, Magalie Lamour, both urged Judge Lauriat to send both men to prison for a long time, and to make sure both men got equal sentences even though only Zachery had a firearm that day.

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Magalie Lamour said her extended family misses Kenny, and that since she immigrated to the United States from Haiti 30 years ago — 15 spent living in Boston — she has seen an inexplicable devotion to violence among young men in a country of great resources.

“I often ask myself what has gone wrong with this society,” she said. There are opportunities for “young people to travel the world, do good, be nice, just enjoy life . . . What has gone wrong that people 15, 16, 17, 18 years old think it’s cool to walk up and just take someone’s life?”

Polumbaum asked for the maximum allowable for second degree murder for both men — 25 years before the men would qualify to appear before the parole board plus at least four more years in prison for Zachery for shooting at the police officer. The prosecutor pushed for the extended time for Zachery even as he noted Zachery witnessed his brother shoot someone else to death.

“You can talk about fate, about being dealt a bad hand,’’ Polumbaum said, but Lamour’s death was “particularly senseless, particularly brazen, and particularly jarring. . . . It was simply an opportunity to take someone out . . . to take that person off the board.”

But Zachery’s defense attorney, Robert J. Wheeler Jr., pleaded for leniency, noting that his client was just 18 years and 6 months old that day and that science has shown that the brains of young people function differently, and more impulsively, than someone in his or her 20s.

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“This is a person who doesn’t have evil in his body,’’ Wheeler said, adding that if Zachery had grown up in another part of the city, he would have not become part of a street gang. “We live in a society where there are too many guns and too many irrational actions are taken.”

Wheeler and Henley’s defense attorney, James Budreau, asked for a sentence of 15 years before their clients would become eligible for parole. Budreau noted that his client did not shoot Lamour, but also acknowledged he played a key role in bringing victim and killer together.

“It’s a tragedy for three families,’’ Budreau said, adding that Henley’s mother did try to keep him out of trouble and off the streets “but was not successful as many single parents are not.”

“The safety concerns of that [gang] life” drove Henley’s actions that day, Budreau said. “He made horrible choices that day, he set something in motion that ultimately led to Mr. Lamour’s death’’ that was based “on the safety concerns of that life.”

Without offering a detailed reasoning, Lauriat sentenced Zachery to 20 years in prison before he will be eligible for parole, and an additional four to five years to serve once paroled, for opening fire on the police officer.

Lauriat ordered Henley to serve 20 years before he is eligible for parole, a sentence that indicated the judge found both men equally responsible for the death of Lamour.

Both men will be credited for about 1,000 days they spent in jail awaiting for their trial.

John R. Ellement
can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.