The State Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas was right in 2010, when she added 15 years to the minimum prison sentence for a Niagara Falls man convicted of murder.
Farkas gave Darnell D. Carter 40 years to life instead of the typical 25 years to life for second-degree murder. She added the additional time for Carter’s conviction for second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court last year reduced Carter’s minimum sentence by 15 years, saying the weapons charge should have been sentenced concurrently with the murder, as part of a single criminal event. However, the Appellate Division changed its mind three months later and reinstated the original sentence. Carter appealed that ruling, but Thursday, he lost his case.
The state’s highest court said a 2006 revision to New York’s laws on illegal guns justified Farkas’ decision.
Carter, now 27, was convicted of the slaying of Robert R. Biggs, 39, of Niagara Falls, during a robbery attempt on Pierce Avenue in that city. He is in Great Meadow Correctional Facility and is not eligible for a parole hearing until 2047.