Kwame Spratt of Utica was sentenced today for the murder of Thomas Bell on Varick Street back in July of 2019.
A fight between four males including Spratt, ended in a stabbing and the death of Bell. Spratt was charged with second degree murder but after taking a plea deal back in January, the charge was reduced to manslaughter in the first-degree.
It was an interesting day in the courtroom as Spratt had a change of heart moments before his sentencing. He not only asked for his plea to be changed from “Guilty” to “No Contest” but asked for his sentence to be reduced, saying he did not understand what he was pleading to.
The prosecution read a statement from Destinty Davis, the mother of Bell’s three children who believes Spratt should serve life in prison. Sobbing. Spratt read a letter he wrote that apologized to the family of Bell and asked for forgiveness.
Oneida County Court Judge, Robert Bouer sentenced Spratt to 15 years with five years post release for manslaughter in the first-degree. Spratt, then asked to be heard again stating, “My attorney should have known that I did not intend to kill anyone, yet he plead me guilty to a manslaughter charge that involved attempt to kill.”
Bouer responded, “You stood in front of me, under oath, you told me you were guilty. Your attorney didn’t do that. You’re a grown man, you did that.”
Spratt read a lengthy note explaining that he feared for his life in a gang assault and was simply defending himself but did not intend to kill Thomas Bell. Spratt also asked for his sentenced to be reduced to 10 years, his request was denied. His plea of “No Contest” was also denied. Bouer stated that there is no such thing in the State of New York. Also, no legal basis to withdraw his guilty plea because the court believes he was knowing, intelligent and his plea was voluntary.