CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - A man was sentenced to 20 years in prison two years after a drive-by shooting in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
Zackary A. Valenti was sentenced to seven years for assault in the second degree, three years for armed criminal action and 10 years for the unlawful use of a weapon. The sentences will run consecutively.
In late July 2015, Valenti, 16 years old at the time, was accused of being an accomplice to Ajai McReynolds, also 16 at the time, in a daylight shooting on June 29, 2015.
A three-day jury trial was held on August 10, 2017.
In the case, a co-defendant and third passenger in the vehicle, Terrance Williams, testified against Valenti and provided information that the driver of the vehicle, McReynolds, and the front passenger, Valenti, were driving by a group of people on South Hanover Street around 2:30 p.m. on that date.
As they were driving by, Williams testified that McReynolds spotted people they thought had robbed him before and opened fire as they drove past.
Williams testified that McReynolds had a .45 caliber handgun, that Valenti had a .380 caliber handgun and that he had a 9mm handgun.
Williams stated he thought they were just going to fire in the air to scare the group. Instead, Williams saw Valenti and McReynolds firing into the group of people.
At the trial, the State's ballistic expert confirmed that shell casings found at the scene were fired from the same handguns as shell casings found at the home where McReynolds and Valenti were staying.
According to a release from Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Limbaugh, Paige Smith, who was standing in the group of people, was shot in the head and became permanently maimed and crippled as a result.
Smith testified that she does not remember the incident and only remembers leaving a St. Louis hospital four months later.
Limbaugh said Smith lost nearly all of her memories because of this, including her childhood memories and even her sister's name.