May 12, 2021

Two men sentenced to life in 2014 Caribbean carnival slaying

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By Travis Andersen From Boston Globe

The father and brother of a beloved youth mentor killed by a stray bullet in 2014 in Dorchester on Monday confronted two men who were on opposite sides of the gun battle, moments before a judge sentenced the pair to life in prison.

“My sister meant a lot to me,” said Ian Jaffier, Jr., 23, during an emotional sentencing hearing in Suffolk Superior Court. “Your honor, I’d like to let the defendants know that they have changed my life forever.”

Jaffier was addressing Wesson Colas, 25, and Keith Williams, 21, who were both convicted last month of first-degree murder in the August 2014 slaying of Jaffier’s sister, 26-year-old Dawnn Jaffier.

The father and brother of a beloved youth mentor killed by a stray bullet in 2014 in Dorchester on Monday confronted two men who were on opposite sides of the gun battle, moments before a judge sentenced the pair to life in prison.

“My sister meant a lot to me,” said Ian Jaffier, Jr., 23, during an emotional sentencing hearing in Suffolk Superior Court. “Your honor, I’d like to let the defendants know that they have changed my life forever.”

Jaffier was addressing Wesson Colas, 25, and Keith Williams, 21, who were both convicted last month of first-degree murder in the August 2014 slaying of Jaffier’s sister, 26-year-old Dawnn Jaffier.

She was attending the opening parade of the Caribbean carnival when she was struck by errant gunfire that prosecutors said Colas and Williams initiated.

They were sentenced to life in prison Monday.

Before their fate was sealed, they also listened to Dawnn Jaffier’s father, Ian Jaffier Sr., recall how his daughter made “a positive impact” in her community before “her life was senselessly lost.”

“These defendants have robbed me,” said Ian Sr., speaking softly in an blue pinstriped suit with a photo of his daughter displayed on his jacket. “I’ll never see my superstar again. I do say ‘hi’ to her and blow her a kiss when I drive by Forest Hills Cemetery.”

He urged troubled city youths to “pull up their pants [and] put down their guns,” insisting that “in our community, we could do better.”

Prosecutors said the deadly episode began inside Rose’s Market on Blue Hill Avenue, when Colas and his friends encountered another man, Jordan Reed, and his companions and took exception to their presence in that part of the neighborhood.

The groups stared each other down and the confrontation spilled onto the street, where an off-duty Boston police detective saw Colas pull out a gun and aim it at Reed, Williams, and another man, court records showed.

Although Williams wasn’t involved in the staredown in the store, prosecutors said he fired a revolver at Colas, an accusation Williams’s lawyer denied. The gunfire hit Jaffier and grazed the leg of Lealah Fulton, who was standing at the intersection of Blue Hill and American Legion Highway, prosecutors said.

Both defendants were also convicted of lesser charges stemming from Fulton’s injuries.

Colas and Williams sat quietly during the hearing Monday, seated just a few feet from one another and separated by their lawyers.

Both defendants declined to address the court, but their lawyers spoke briefly on their behalf before Judge Christine Roach handed down the mandatory life sentenced.

John Galvin, Williams’s lawyer, said his client had no prior criminal record before the shooting, and that his family continues to support him.

Peter Marano, a lawyer for Colas, said his client has a young daughter and “wanted to raise a family. He wanted to be a good father.”

Williams turned and waved to a woman as he was led from the courtroom after the hearing. The woman wiped back tears.

Dawnn Jaffier was a staff member at the West End House Boys and Girls Club in Allston and loved to work with children.

Speaking to reporters afterward, District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said she “was clearly a shining light in our city.”

He said the case showed that people who engage in deadly gun violence on city streets will have to pay for their crimes.

“If you’re going to arm yourselves, if you’re going to shoot at each other in broad daylight in the middle of our city, then you are going to be held accountable,” Conley said.

Jaffier’s father and brother also spoke to reporters and said they hoped the tragic case would prompt young people to turn away from gun violence.

“I hope that this verdict actually rings bells through the city,” Ian Jr. said. “It was stated earlier that there are no wins in this situation. But I feel like if one person is watching this story, and if one person is influenced, one person just puts their gun down, that’s really a win for the whole entire city.”

IMAGES:

Ian Jaffier, Sr. sheds a tear while his son, Ian Jaffier, Jr., 23, delivered his victim impact statement. PAT GREENHOUSE/GLOBE STAFF

Keith Williams (left) and Wesson Colas in Suffolk Superior Court Monday.PAT GREENHOUSE/GLOBE STAFF

For more on this story go to: https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2018/01/08/will-never-see-superstar-again-dad-tells-two-men-sentenced-life-for-daughter-slaying/GfH8ikkjS67NJoQakcxzNI/story.html

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