Man convicted of manslaughter in Cheektowaga park killing

Jun 4, 2013

A man accused of shooting another man two years ago in Cheektowaga Town Park was convicted of first-degree manslaughter Tuesday morning in Erie County Court.

Judge Michael Pietruszka, in a non-jury trial, ruled that the prosecution could not prove intent in the shooting, so a second-degree murder charge against Dontre Jones was dismissed. Jones was 18 at the time of the shooting on May 31, 2011.

The victim, 19-year-old Ira Watkins, Jr., was a student at Erie Community College and a manager at a local fast food restaurant. The shooting happened in front of as many as 75 people in the park.

Jones faces a sentence of 5 to 25 years in prison at sentencing on August 26.