A Buffalo man accused last year of fatally shooting a Lockport man in 2012 at a Riverside gas station after DNA evidence from the crime scene implicated him pleaded guilty Friday in Erie County Court.
Ahkeem R. Huffman, 21, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of first-degree manslaughter.
He admitted that he killed Rashiene T. Carson on Nov. 10, 2012, while trying to rob the 20-year-old victim who was sitting in the back seat of a car parked at the gas station on Ontario Street.
Huffman was indicted last July on two counts of second-degree murder, one count of attempted first-degree robbery and one count of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
He pleaded guilty to the less serious manslaughter charge, which carries a maximum 25-year prison sentence, in satisfaction of the indictment. The murder charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years to life.
Assistant District Attorney Gary Hackbush said the victim’s family agreed to the plea.
Buffalo police initially arrested Charles Tubbins in the gas station slaying, after several eyewitnesses identified him from an array of photographs that detectives showed them. He was later indicted.
But DNA tests of the car door handle, which the assailant touched when he opened the door and shot the victim, showed the DNA did not match Tubbins’ DNA.
As a result of those DNA tests, which the Erie County District Attorney’s Office had asked the crime lab to perform, prosecutors alerted the court and Tubbins’ attorney and Erie County Judge Thomas P. Franczyk dismissed the charges.
The DNA from the door handle was submitted to the New York State databank and matched Huffman, a convicted felon who resembles Tubbins, prosecutors said.
The DNA evidence and incriminating admissions from Huffman were presented to another grand jury and resulted in a new indictment last July.
Huffman has two previous felony convictions – one in 2008 for first-degree robbery involving a Buffalo liquor store holdup and one last year for weapon possession.
At the time of the gas station slaying, Huffman had completed his prison sentence in the robbery case,
He was arrested on the weapon charge in January 2013, pleaded guilty and was sentenced last May to two to four years in prison. While in prison, he was indicted in the gas station slaying.
Judge Kenneth F. Case on Friday told Huffman that the prison sentence he gives him Aug. 4 for his manslaughter conviction will run consecutively to the prison term he is serving in the weapon case.