ALBANY, N.Y. — The Albany man who shot and killed a rival last year on Thanksgiving Day has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Kareem Blacknall learned his fate Thursday in Albany County Court. He admitted to manslaughter in October as part of a plea deal.
During his sentencing Thursday, Blacknall told the judge he takes full responsibility for his actions: killing Wendell Hill in a fit of rage at the Rocks Nightclub in Albany, shooting several more bystanders, and destroying many other lives in the process.
But while the 25-year sentence struck a blow to Blacknall on Thursday, it was nothing compared to his visible grief for his victims. Blacknall cried and sobbed throughout his sentencing proceedings — especially during the victim impact statement from Demetria Conyers, mother of the late Wendell Hill. Conyers' voice was mostly inaudible, until she stopped in the middle of her statement due to overwhelming grief.
Given his own chance to speak, Blacknall lamented his deadly actions and the effects on his loved ones.
“I would like to sincerely apologize to the victims and their families, to my family, and to my innocent children ... who are now without a father,” Blacknall said, through tears.
Blacknall has two young children. Hill had five.
Blacknall now heads for a prison cell. His defense attorney says the time will most likely be spent on reflection and remorse.
“He armed himself, and this happened," said Bryan Rounds after court on Thursday. "He made bad mistakes. He realizes he should have made other choices, and he didn’t. And he’s going to pay a significant price for it.”