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Grand Rapids's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Grand Rapids, Michigan | WZZM13.com

Birthday party shooter sentenced to at least 32 years

Jamal Bennett convicted of March, 2013 shooting on city's Southeast Side
Jamal Bennett sentenced to between 32 and 100 years in prison for March, 2013 birthday party shooting

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) – A Grand Rapids man who opened fire at a birthday party more than two years ago, killing a young father, will spend a minimum of 32 years in prison.

Jamal Devonte Bennett was sentenced Thursday in Kent County Circuit Court for the March 16, 2013 shooting that killed DeRecko Martin and wounded Martin's brother.

Judge Mark Trusock sentenced him to a mandatory two-year term for using a gun during a felony and between 30 and 100 years for the shootings.

Members of Martin's family addressed the court prior to sentencing. Martin, 30, was a single father of three children.

Martin was attending a birthday party for his brother, Phillip Williams when several uninvited, gun-toting guests crashed the party, leaving Martin dead and Williams with a gunshot to the leg.

Witnesses put Bennett at the crime scene and identified him as the one who shot Martin on the second floor of a four-unit apartment house on Marshall Avenue near Eastern Avenue SE.

At 20, Bennett has already been indoctrinated into the Michigan prison system. A Kent County judge sentenced him in September to an eight to 20-year term for perjury. He came back to Grand Rapids in December for the murder case.