on June 19, 2013 - 10:41 AM
, updated June 19, 2013 at 12:06 PM
After unsuccessfully trying to persuade a judge to set aside his second-degree murder conviction, Joshua J. Mitchell was sentenced today to 25 years to life in prison for fatally shooting popular Metro Bus driver Brian G. Chapman Jr.
Chapman, 37, was on his porch last year waiting for a ride to work before sunrise when he was killed.
Mitchell, 26, expressed no remorse, claiming he was innocent and also the victim of “ineffective” legal representation in the trial against him for the Guilford Street shooting of Feb. 1, 2012.
Mitchell told authorities he was in the neighborhood looking to buy marijuana.
A Buffalo police officer was on patrol in an unmarked patrol car on Guilford Street at the time of the shooting and heard the gunshots. The officer pursued and stopped the car carrying Mitchell and arrested him.
Erie County Judge Thomas P. Franczyk denied Mitchell’s request for a new trial, telling Mitchell he could take up his concerns with the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court.
“He was well loved and making a life for himself. All he was doing was standing on the porch waiting to go to work. You, on the other hand, were trolling the streets before dawn,” Franczyk said.
“Since 2003, you have been arrested for criminal possession of a controlled substance, disorderly conduct, false impersonation, attempted assault and criminal possession of stolen property. In 10th grade you dropped out of high school and here we are,” Franczyk said.
The judge also sentenced Mitchell to 15 years for criminal possession of a .38 caliber handgun and five years of supervised release. The sentences will run concurrently.
Vicki Chapman, the bus driver’s mother, told Mitchell during her statement to the court that he senselessly took a life and that he should reflect on his actions.
Mitchell’s relatives angrily left the courtroom, saying there were others in the vehicle police stopped when arresting Mitchell and that he was innocent.
An Erie County jury delilberated for about three hours before returning a guilty verdict on March 14.
During the trial, prosecutor Gary W. Hackbush, who prosecuted Mitchell along with Assistant Erie County District Attorney John P. Gerken Jr., told jurors Mitchell was the only one to get out of the car and scoffed at Mitchell’s “phantom gunman” theory.