A Buffalo teenager did not speak in court Friday as he was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for the stabbing and burning death of another teenager.
A State Supreme Court judge imposed the maximum sentence on 18-year-old Demetrius Huff.
A jury in October convicted Huff of second-degree murder, making him the second person convicted in the brutal July 2012 attack on 16-year-old Darren Brown.
During his sentencing for first-degree manslaughter last May, co-defendant Ezeiekele Nafi, 17, apologized for his role in the attack, in which Darren was stabbed 54 times, doused with gasoline and set on fire in a wooded area near Colvin Avenue in North Buffalo.
“I know what I did was wrong,” Nafi said at his sentencing. “I do feel bad for it.” He was sentenced to 25 years in prison for manslaughter.
Friday, neither Huff nor his attorney, Paul G. Dell, addressed the court before State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia passed sentence.
“This defendant’s brutal acts, his utter lack of remorse and complete refusal to accept responsibility for what he did are a potent, disturbing and dangerous combination,” prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable told the judge.
“Society must be protected from Demetrius Huff for as long as possible,” she said.
Darren’s mother, who attended Huff’s trial in October, was in the courtroom but did not speak.
“Darren Brown was a 16-year-old kid who endured a horrific death and was burned and abandoned like trash,” Curtin Gable said. “But he was a person. He had family who loved him.”
She noted Darren’s mother had attended not only Huff’s trial but also court proceedings for Nafi. She heard testimony about what her son endured before his death.
“She will be without her son for the rest of her life,” Curtin Gable said.
During the attack, allegedly linked to gang rivalry, the victim’s carotid artery and jugular vein were severed and his lung punctured.
Darren resisted his attackers, only to be beaten and stabbed again. He died after his throat was slit.
Nafi spit on him. And another suspect, who has not been charged in the case, dragged him into the brush, where he was left.
Later that night, Huff returned with gasoline to burn Darren’s body, according to the prosecution, because Nafi had spit on Darren during the attack, and Huff wanted to ensure none of Nafi’s DNA remained on the body.
Huff’s statements to police and to a fellow inmate at the Erie County Holding Center, along with his blood-stained sneakers found by police in the attic of his Jewett Parkway home, proved his guilt, Curtin Gable said during the trial.
In a detailed, handwritten description of the attack that Huff gave to a fellow inmate, Huff described how he ran into Darren on the street.
Darren had talked to Huff, who mistakenly believed Darren belonged to the same gang as he did – and the two smoked marijuana together on Hertel Avenue, according to prosecutors.
When a fellow gang member of Huff’s learned of the friendly encounter, he reacted furiously and told Huff and Nafi that Darren would be attacked the next time he came around, prosecutors have said.
Darren’s family said he was not a gang member.
Huff initially pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter for Darren’s death, but later refused to cooperate in Nafi’s prosecution. So his plea was vacated, and prosecutors reinstated the murder case against him.