SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The last two defendants charged in connection with the killing of Jennifer Ostrander on Aug. 2, 2020, on 6th Avenue in Schenectady, pleaded guilty on Tuesday. The Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office says Tito Garcia, 30, admitted to second-degree murder after firing the fatal shot.
Daquan Smith, 31, also pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Prosecutors claim he helped plan the shooting.
Both men are expected to be sentenced in February. Four other defendants have already entered guilty pleas in the case.
John White, 37, who drove the car with the shooters inside, pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He is expected to receive 12 years in prison when he is sentenced.
Tyricke Walker, 27, who gave a gun to one of the shooters, admitted to second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He will face seven to 12 years behind bars.
Marchello Rizzo, 25, who also supplied a gun to one of the shooters, pleaded guilty to the same charge as Walker. Rizzo agreed to a sentence with a cap of 12 years in prison.
Joel Johnson, 24, who was a shooter, confessed to one count of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and one count of first-degree reckless endangerment. He will face up to 12 years in prison on the weapons charge, and anywhere from two-and-a-third to seven years on the charge of reckless endangerment, to be served concurrently.
After Jennifer Ostrander was murdered in August 2020, the Schenectady Police Department methodically pieced together the roles of almost all of the participants in the crime. A caravan of four cars with 13 people affiliated with the Bloods was in search of Crips to shoot. Three shooters got out of the vehicles and shot at a group of men on Ostrander’s porch whom they believed to be Crips. None of them were injured, but Ostrander was killed by the first shot, which struck her head and brain.
“I thank my trial team of ADA’s Christina Tremante and Nick McDonald, along with our investigators and partners in law enforcement, who were determined to hold to account as many of the participants in this gang murder as we could identify and prove guilty,” stated Schenectady County D.A. Robert Carney. “We did not want to stop with the actual killer, Tito Garcia, but sought to unravel this conspiracy through cooperation from those least responsible to build cases against those who planned this and recruited others to participate. The end result was the death of an unintended innocent victim who was a young mother. Another tragedy in this case is that a young 17-year-old unwittingly recruited to participate in this crime died of natural causes while in custody in a juvenile detention facility awaiting trial. Gang prosecutions are inherently difficult and our success in this one only came about because of the determination and hard work of a talented team of professionals.”