SPRINGFIELD -- A man driving on Bay Street tried to avoid gunfire, but when he looked down, "his arm was just dangling in his lap with blood," a prosecutor said.
A car with four young people going to prom was hit next, although no bullets hit the occupants. When their car began to emit smoke they thought it was going to explode, and they were helped out of it by passers-by.
Those victims stayed in the Hampden district attorney's office Thursday as Larry Green, the shooter, pleaded guilty in Hampden Superior Court. Assistant District Attorney Max Bennett said they didn't want to have Green see them.
"Everyone is afraid of him," Bennett said.
He said the victims were prepared to testify against Green if he didn't plead guilty, which he said was very brave on their part.
Springfield man denies a dozen crimes connected to June shooting
Larry Green, 24, denied a dozen charges in connection with a June 1 incident in Springfield.
Green, 25, of Springfield, pleaded guilty to two counts of armed assault with intent to murder, two counts of malicious damage to a motor vehicle and one count of carrying a firearm without a license (subsequent offense). Judge David Ricciardone sentenced Green to 10 to 15 years in state prison.
One of the counts of armed assault with intent to murder named as victim the man who had his arm shattered by one of Green's bullets.
The second count lists "John Doe" as the victim. Green was shooting at a car going the opposite direction of the two cars his bullets hit. The occupant or occupants of that car have not been identified, Bennett said.
Defense lawyer Daniel R. Bergin said Green, who had gotten out of prison nine days before in another gun case, knew the person in the car he was targeting and thought he was in danger, so he fired off shots. Bergin said no one from that car went to a hospital with gunshot wounds, so he believes Green did not hit anyone in that vehicle.
Bergin wanted Ricciardone to sentence Green to five to seven years in state prison.
Bennett asked for a sentence of 13 to 15 years.>
Springfield man who claimed right to carry illegal firearm gets 2½ years in prison
Larry Green of Springfield pleaded guilty to carrying a firearm without a license, carrying a loaded firearm and possession of a large capacity feeding device.
Something Green told police in a previous arrest followed Green on Thursday, as Bennett said it was one reason for the sentence he was recommending.
When he was arrested in April 2015 in a case involving firearms offenses, he told police he would rather "sit in a 4 by 8" cell for the rest of his life for illegal guns than be killed. He said he had to carry a firearm in part because people think he killed someone.
Green had been held for several years while awaiting trial on a murder charge related to the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Dwayne Kelly on Oct. 26, 2012.
In the document ending the murder case against Green, the prosecutor said new information had come to light that impacted the prosecution's ability to meet its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
In the present case, Bennett said Green fired the shots at 6:51 p.m. on June 1, 2017, from the corner of Brown and Bay streets. He said there are several businesses there and many people were driving on Bay Street or walking around.
Seven 9 mm shell casings were found at the scene.
A surveillance camera at a nearby store captured the shooting, Bennett said. Green had gone into a store to get food, and was still holding the food in his left hand when he fired the shots with his right hand.
He said Green is "an extremely prominent member of the Sycamore Street posse." Green's Hampden County Correctional Center record is filled with gang activity in the jail, he said.
Bennett read a victim impact statement from the man whose arm was shattered by a bullet from Green's gun.
"I fear I will have pain in my arm for the rest of my life," the man said. He said he has had two surgeries and is waiting for another. He said he has post-traumatic stress disorder.
It has taken him more than a year to get back to work. There is nerve damage in his arm, his statement said.
Bennett said, "He did no more than go out to do some errands."
As for the three girls and one boy in the car on the way to the prom, they said there was pandemonium as they tried to figure out what had happened, Bennett said.
"These girls didn't deserve to get shot at as they were going to the prom," Bennett said.
"All the city of Springfield is a victim here. People live on Bay Street. ... They deserve to live in a neighborhood where bullets are not flying," he said.
Ricciardone told Green he was giving him the 10- to 15-year sentence as an incentive to conduct himself in prison in a way that might make parole a possibility before 15 years.