The older of two Cahokia brothers involved in two March 2016 shootings will serve more time than his younger brother for the crimes.
Keylon Ray, 19, will serve up to 14 years for shooting a 14-year-old boy in the leg and shooting at a person Ray mistook for a drug dealer, Judge Randall Kelley ruled Tuesday morning. Ray will have to serve at least 85 percent of that sentence before being eligible for parole.
“Despite his young age, the defendant dove into the deep end of criminal behavior,” prosecutor John Trippi said in his statement before sentencing.
Keylon’s younger brother, 17-year-old Brandon Ray, was sentenced to 13 years for the same crimes in November.
“The first shooting, (they) mistakenly believed they were avenging their mother by visiting a drug dealer,” Trippi said.
The second shooting, five days after the first, was of a 14-year-old boy thought by the Ray brothers to be “a snitch,” according to Trippi.
“There’s nothing to indicate (the boy) was doing anything” with any law enforcement agency, Trippi said. He added that the boy’s family felt so threatened they “moved a significant distance” from Cahokia.
The boy’s leg was broken by the blast from a shotgun that Keylon Ray fired at him, Trippi said.
Trippi said Keylon Ray had a history of criminal behavior going back several years, including robbery, aggravated battery and mob action charges going back to 2012.
It is a “significant and serious and harmful pattern of criminal behavior,” Trippi said.
The Ray brothers “came from an unsettled home, to say the least,” defense attorney Greg Nester told Judge Kelley.
Their father was ill and died while the brothers were in jail, and their mother has substance abuse problems, Nester said.
“He would like to be out with his brother, so they can start putting their lives together — together,” Nester said.
Keylon Ray spoke directly to the judge as part of the proceedings.
“I can change; I know I can change,” he said, after saying “as you see, my mother’s not here.”
“I just want to be there for my son.”
Judge Kelley said he considered mitigating factors such as Keylon Ray’s family environment, his Attention Deficit Disorder and that he accepted responsibility and showed remorse for his actions. But he also had to consider the deterrent factor for future crimes, the defendant’s criminal history, and that “great bodily harm” had occurred.
After sentencing, the judge and bailiff agreed that Keylon Ray could hug his toddler son. Still shackled, Keylon Ray did so as he repeatedly murmured his love to the boy.
Both brothers were sentenced for aggravated battery and aggravated discharge of a firearm. They were initially charged with several additional counts.