ROCHESTER — A career criminal drew a life sentence in prison without possibility of parole on Monday for killing a suspected drug rival and one of two women who were caught in a hail of gunfire near a Rochester street corner in 2006.
“This was nothing short of an assassination,” Judge John DeMarco told Larry “Hawk” Brown, 33, who again asserted his innocence after being found guilty in October of first-degree murder and assault.
“It was cold, calculated and, most importantly, there is no proof whatsoever … that you planned in any way to save the lives of those people” far removed from the drug trade that “you’ve been involved in for at least 15 years.”
At trial last month, prosecutor Matthew Rich said Brown told friends he intended to kill Morris “Mo” Ferrel because he believed the 28-year-old convicted drug dealer was responsible for kidnapping him two days earlier and shooting a friend that year. But the prosecutor said Brown called the women unintended victims.
Sharri Chandler, a 21-year-old hairdresser, ambled out of her house on a warm July night to chat with Ferrel, a family friend, and Shamia Parson, 25, a cousin visiting from Holland, Mich. Police said Chandler was sitting in Ferrel’s parked car and Parson was leaning into an open passenger window when Brown walked out of the shadows and strafed the rear window with 14 gunshots.
Ferrel and Chandler managed to get out of the car before falling dead. Parson was shot in the side.
Brown “took the easy way out” when he sought revenge but also killed an innocent “who was filled with joy,” Chandler’s twin sister Shannon told the court. “I thank God we were close for those 21 years. I thank God every day for her memory.”
Defense lawyer Clark Zimmerman had criticized discrepancies by other drug dealers who testified in exchange for leniency in separate criminal cases. “We’re not here to respond to anger or sorrow,” he told the judge in asking for a sentence that allowed Brown a chance of parole.
The killings capped eight days in Rochester when eight people were shot to death, and the mayhem weighed heavily on a city best known to outsiders as the world headquarters of Eastman Kodak Co.
Brown, who has prior drug convictions, also faces unresolved federal drug trafficking charges. He was arrested with three other men last year on charges of conspiring to sell heroin and cocaine. In court documents, federal prosecutors said Brown “has long been a dangerous narcotics trafficker.”