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Man sentenced to 15 years in prison for 2008 shooting death

Man sentenced to 15 years in prison for 2008 shooting death

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RACINE — Almost 13 years after the crime, and more than five years after he was charged, a local man faced justice for firing a gun over a fence that killed a 20-year-old man in 2008.

Jonathan Sparks, 30, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the shooting death of Jamaal Stanciel.

Racine County Circuit Court Judge Faye Flancher sentenced Sparks on April 23.

Case history

On June 14, 2008, the Racine Police Department was dispatched to the area of 11th Street and Hilker Place for a report of shots fired.

Once there, they located Stanciel, who had been shot twice, once in the shoulder and once in the torso. According to the autopsy, the bullet that went through his torso punctured his lungs, killing him.

Sparks was arrested on the night of the shooting, but not for murder. He was arrested after police found him with a gun and cocaine.

There were no immediate arrests for the homicide, and the case went cold for seven years.

In December 2012, investigators interviewed an associate of Stanciel’s who reportedly was near the scene of the shooting that night.

He told them he saw Sparks shoot over the fence five or six times, according to the complaint.

Investigators interviewed Sparks in an Illinois prison after reportedly being tipped that he was the shooter. Sparks allegedly told them he held a gun over the top of a fence and fired that night, according to his criminal complaint.

Three people — who were identified as “associates” of Sparks and interviewed by police — allegedly were in a car with Sparks the night of the shooting. When Sparks returned to the car, police said he told one of the men that he had fired multiple times, the complaint states.

Sparks was charged with first-degree reckless homicide in 2015. On Nov. 29, 2016, Sparks entered a plea of no contest to the charge.

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Racine County District Attorney Tricia Hanson explained in an email that the reason the suspect isn't facing hate crime charges is because "There are enough facts, outside of those in the complaint, to indicate that the defendant did not intentionally select the victim because he was gay (and that) the two were fighting over household duties as they were roommates. Once the fight began, he defendant began using homophobic slurs."

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