The family of Shpetim “Timmy” Ramadani fled from the Balkans in the late ‘90s to escape violence.
They moved to Akron hoping for a better, more peaceful life for their family. That dream was shattered in February 2018 when their 18-year-old son was shot and killed at the hands of two other teens in a dispute about an ounce of marijuana. Police say the street value of the pot is less than $200.
“The violence of the streets of Akron are what killed Timmy,” Assistant Prosecutor Rick Raley said Wednesday during the sentencing for the two teens convicted in Ramadani’s death.
Summit County Common Pleas Judge Kelly McLaughlin sentenced Tyler Morgan and John Smith to life in prison with possible parole after 15 years. They faced up to life in prison.
The teens plan to appeal.
Morgan, 19, and Smith, 17, pleaded no contest to murder Feb. 4 and McLaughlin found them guilty.
Prosecutors say Ramadani was a passenger in a Chrysler 300 when the occupants stopped in South Akron to talk to Morgan and Smith about 7 p.m. Feb. 13, 2018. Morgan or Smith fired a gun into the vehicle, striking Ramadani in the chest.
The driver of the Chrysler called police. Ramadani was later pronounced dead at Summa Akron City Hospital.
Smith was bound over from Summit County Juvenile Court to be tried as an adult.
The teens’ sentencings were delayed when questions arose about whether a new violent offender registration would apply to them and if Morgan could withdraw his plea. McLaughlin didn’t permit the plea withdrawal and ruled the registration applies to the teens. They must register their address for 10 years after they are released from prison.
During the sentencing, Raley said Ramadani’s parents were present but didn’t wish to speak. He urged McLaughlin to impose a life prison sentence. He said prosecutors will fight the teens being released on parole.
“The loss of a young life is traumatic for everybody,” he said.
Don Hicks, Morgan’s attorney, said his client had no prior involvement with the court system.
“He feels great remorse for what occurred,” Hicks said.
Both teens made brief statements before they were sentenced.
Morgan said he has taken responsibility for his actions.
“I’m sorry for what I did. I want to be a better person moving on,” Smith said.
After the sentencing, David Lowry, Smith’s attorney, called this “a tough case for everybody.”
Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705, firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @swarsmithabj.