DOWNTOWN — Jameg Blake, 24, was sentenced to 21 years in prison after shooting his best friend, Kwame Dancy 24, in the neck with a sawed-off shotgun in December 2009 after the two got into an argument in front of the Harlem apartment building on West 132nd Street where they both lived.
Blake pleaded guilty to manslaughter after prosecuters offered him a plea deal — something Dancy's family wanted in order to avoid the pain of going through a trial, the District Attorney's office said during the sentencing.
"There is nothing you can say that will justify taking Kwame's life," prosecutors read from a statement by Dancy's mother, Madeline Smith. "I hope my son's face haunts you for the rest of your life."
Smith went on to say that the family treated Blake "like a son," often taking him on trips.
Before sentencing, Blake offered a long apology.
"I just wish I had better judgment than pulling a gun out on my best friend," said Blake. "My ego wouldn't let me back down. I just wanted him to be the one to back down."
Blake said he and Dancy often got into arguments and that Blake was often the one to concede — something, he said, he was tired of.
"I'm sorry Mr. D," he said to Dancy's father, James Dancy, before breaking down in tears.
Blake said he had known Dancy since they were both 12.
He said on the day he shot Dancy he had read something written by his friend online that angered him. There were reports that the two were exchanging harsh words back and forth on Twitter.
"I just wish I was man enough just to leave it alone," he said.
Judge Renee White said before sentencing that she hoped Blake would use his jail time to reflect on his actions.
"I hope that you are sincere in your sorrow," said Blake. "Do something productive [while in jail], take life in a different direction."