Two New York men were convicted of murder on Wednesday after beating a 96-year-old church deacon to death during a break-in.
According to authorities, four men broke into Levi Clayton’s home in November of 2012. Security cameras captured 18-year-old Shaquar Pratcher and 23-year-old Elhajji Elshabazz armed in the man’s backyard. Clayton reportedly threw a lamp out of the window to try to thwart the robbery.
The two men reportedly beat Clayton unconscious during the break-in and the World War II veteran died from injuries sustained several months later.
Both men have been convicted of second-degree murder and burglary while Pratcher has also been convicted of weapons charges. Both face 25 years to life in prison and will have their sentencing hearing in May.
Their lawyers argued that Clayton’s death four and a half months after the attack was due to Alzheimer’s. Prosecutors did not deny that Alzheimer’s may have contributed to his death but added that “also contributing was the fact that he had his entire face broken by these sociopaths. He had over a dozen fractures to his face. So to say that had nothing to do with his death, I think would be ridiculous.”
The two men that were with Pratcher and Elshabazz during the break-in pleaded guilty to burglary charges and testified against the two men responsible for Clayton’s death.
Joseph Terranova, one of the defense attorneys, said “You don’t want accomplices feathering their own nest and accusing other people and having the incentive to accuse other people simply to get a better deal.”
The two accomplices still face up to 15 years in prison and will be sentenced in May.
Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita said “Nobody should have to go through something like this. Especially someone towards the end of their life and in the safety and sanctity of their home. What happened to Mr. Clayton, I think is the nightmare of so many of our senior citizens.”