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A man will serve up to 12 years in prison for pistol-whipping a teen’s face after showing up at a pre-arranged fist fight with a gun.
Lancaster County Judge Howard Knisely cited Jeremy Alston’s “absolute lack of remorse” while ordering a 5½-to-12-year prison term for the Sept. 23, 2016, incident at Neffsville Community Park.
Alston, 37, was convicted at trial in June of aggravated assault and related counts for beating the 19-year-old man. Alston showed up, armed, at the park for a pre-arranged fight involving his son and another teen.
At sentencing, the victim’s parents spoke about how their son’s dreams of playing professional football were erased by the attack.
“My son is alive today because he played dead,” Sabrina Rivera-Gaines said in court. “My son… will never be the same again. He’s so distant. He will forever live with those screws and the metal in his face.”
Surgery for the injuries involved three metal plates, 19 screws and 50 staples; they will require ongoing treatment.
“The fact is he almost killed my son,” Pablo Rivera Jr. said, standing a few steps from Alston.
Alston’s comments included a request for leniency, but no mention of the victim – an absence that was not lost on the judge.
“I’d be down on my knees begging for forgiveness” from the victim and family, Judge Knisely said.
Assistant District Attorney Travis S. Anderson, who won the trial conviction, asked the judge to consider the “extreme egregiousness of the conduct.”
“This is a case of a grown man who brought a loaded gun to a teenager’s fist fight,” Anderson said.
As Alston was led out of the courtroom, he repeatedly looked back and sneered toward the prosecution table and courtroom gallery.
In addition to aggravated assault, Alston was convicted of not having a license to carry a firearm and for reckless endangerment regarding a shot that was fired into the macadam during the incident.
Manheim Township police Officer Nelson Dejesus, who filed charges, also was in court for the sentencing hearing.