Ulster County man sentenced to 20 years to life in prison for fatally shooting 12-year-old
An Ulster County man has been sentenced to 20 years to life in prison after he fired shots into a Kingston home that left a 12-year-old girl dead and her younger brother injured.
Gilbert Thomas was in court Wednesday in connection to the December 2020 shooting that killed D'Janeira Mason and injured Dasane Mason.
Thomas, who was 24 at the time, told police he shot at the home - knowing there were children inside - because he thought a rival gang member who had stabbed his brother was also inside.
District Attorney David Clegg says he used an AK-47 that was a community automatic assault rifle gang members hid in a public place to share.
Judge Bryan Rounds says Thomas has a long history in the court system detailed in letters from his family. He was first arrested for a felony at 11 years old for stealing a car and a gun.
Rounds says Thomas has been offered help in the past - and was previously admitted to Four Winds Hospital and the Berkshire Center for Youth.
"It's who he is. It's what he does," says Rounds.
He received the maximum sentence of 20 years to life, and all the victims have protective orders against him until the next century.
Thomas' attorney has filed an appeal. Last month, Robert James was sentenced to 13 years in prison for having a loaded weapon at the shooting.
The judge also asked that, in the future, lawmakers consider the murder of a child be treated as murder in the first degree so the potential sentence could carry the possibility of life without parole.