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Ten years in prison for man who fired gun into parked car; hid from police in snowbank

By GARY LIBERATORE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - A former "Fugitive of the Week" here in Utica will spend the next ten years in state prison.

Kwamae Smith, 20, admitted to firing ten rounds from a handgun into a parked car full of people, including children, on Schuyler Street in Utica on May 27, 2010.

Police said the target of that shooting was Pernell Flanders, 22, who himself was sentenced to 24 years in state prison earlier this year for a separate shooting on June 26 of last year near Brinckerhoff Ave and Leah Street. Flanders shot John Thorington several times. Thorington survived.

In February, Smith accepted a plea deal from prosecutors. In exchange for pleading guilty to reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon, he would serve six years in state prison.

However, prosecutors say that after he accepted the plea deal and while out on bail, he got into more trouble by not showing up for court dates on other cases.

A warrant was issued for his arrest and when he was pulled over by Utica Police for a traffic stop on March 15, they tried to arrest him. However, Smith fled from police, eventually caught with the help of a city pole camera which showed him hiding behind a snowbank behind Palermo's Pizza on Genesee Street.

This additional trouble with the law is why, instead of facing the previously agreed upon six years in state prison, Judge Barry Donalty enhanced Smith's sentence to ten years.

Donalty sentenced Smith to ten years for criminal possession of a weapon and two and a third to seven years for the reckless endangerment charge.

The terms are to be served concurrently, so Smith will spend the next ten years in state prison.

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