Thursday, 4:30 PM
Slaying defendants apologize to victim's parents
(Globe file photo)
Abdirauf Abdullahi was "truly an innocent victim," the judge said.
By John R. Ellement, Globe Staff
Before being led away to serve their prison sentences, two teenagers apologized today to the parents of the 19-year-old Somalian native they killed last year in the South End.
Mwase Potts and Eloy Sierra pleaded guilty to manslaughter before Suffolk Superior Court Judge Frank Gaziano as the parents of Abdirauf Abdullahi looked on with disapproval.
"As life goes on, don't hold a grudge, because I am deeply sorry for my actions," Potts said, turning to the parents.
"As far as what happened, I send my condolences," said Sierra. "I hope I find a way to act better and make better choices in the future."
Abdullahi was shot to death in the South End in June 2006. He was about to leave Boston to attend a pharmacy college in the South on a scholarship.
Sierra, who actually pulled the trigger, was sentenced to 19 to 20 years in state prison and Potts was given nine to 10 years under a plea agreement reached with Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley's office.
In court and in a later interview, Abdullahi's parents said they wanted longer sentences because the defendants -- Sierra was 15 at the time of the crime and Potts was 16 -- will still be able to see their families and will one day be freed.
The victim's father, Abdigafar Abdullah-Salah, said he wished Massachusetts had a death penalty because the death of his son's killers was the only way he will find peace.
"When someone kills somebody the only way you can feel better or get peace of mind is when you know the other person got what he deserved and he got killed," the father said through an interpreter, Layla Guled. "That's when you get peace of mind."
Abdullahi and a friend had left Peter's Park on Shawmut Avenue around 11:30 p.m. on June 25, 2006, when two people wearing dark hooded sweatshirts opened fire, fatally wounding Abdullahi.
From the bench, Gaziano said Abdullahi was "truly an innocent victim."
But the judge also said he believed the sentence was just, noting that the two teens had limited or no criminal records when they shot and killed Abdullahi.