BUFFALO, New York (Reuters) - A western New York man convicted of a deadly shooting spree outside a restaurant last summer was sentenced on Thursday to spend life in prison.
Riccardo McCray, 24, maintained his innocence at his sentencing in Erie County Court, where a jury had found him guilty of three counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder.
Judge Sheila DiTullio ordered that McCray serve life without parole in prison for the 17-second rampage outside a party at Buffalo's City Grill on August 14, 2010.
The shooting left four people dead and four injured.
"You killed, and you injured a lot of people. You turned a happy and fun event into one of the worst (crimes) in Buffalo's history," DiTullio said.
The shooting occurred after a large group of party goers were kicked out of the downtown restaurant.
McCray fled to South Carolina before surrendering 10 days later at a television news station where he gave an interview admitting he was at the party but denying the shooting.
He was arrested on camera.
"My heart goes out to the families, but I'm not the shooter, and God knows I'm not the shooter," McCray said in court on Thursday.
At trial, McCray was identified by several witnesses who attended the party celebrating the marriage of one of the victims, 30-year-old Danyell Mackin.
Mackin's widow was one of several victim family members who addressed the court, asking that the judge impose the maximum sentence of life in prison without parole.
"I watched my husband take his last breath," said Tanisha Mackin, his widow. "No one knows what that's like if they haven't gone through it."
Erie County Prosecutor James Bargnesi called it a "simple case of disgusting and senseless terror and gun violence."
A motive for the shooting was never established. (Writing by Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by Jerry Norton)