Two men who police say have gang ties were sentenced Friday for their role in an Omaha homicide committed two years ago.
Seventeen-year-old Devina Johnson was sitting in a car near 36th and Ames in August 2011 when the gunmen approached and opened fire, targeting a rival gang member. Johnson was an innocent victim. She was a senior at Benson High School and the mother of a then two-year-old girl.
Prosecutors alleged that Tracey Wooten fired three shots, one striking Johnson in the heart. He received 20 years for manslaughter, 10 years for attempted robbery and 14 years for possession of a deadly weapon minus 565 days credit for time served. He could be eligible for release in less than 16 years under Nebraska’s good time law.
Tristian Rodriguez-Shelly was sentenced to 10 years for possession of a weapon by a prohibited person and six years for possession of a stolen firearm, minus 529 days of credit. He will have to serve at least eight years in prison.
Prosecutors were unable to charge either one of them with murder because the key witness was uncooperative and kept changing his story.
"This is a very tragic set of circumstances where a young woman gets gunned down on the streets," said Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine. "But we had problems with the case. And we wanted to get what we could out of it to ensure that somebody's held accountable and responsible."
Members of Davina Johnson's family were at Friday's sentencing which would have been her 19th birthday.
"We just want say happy birthday to Davina on behalf of the Johnson family," said family member Keke Brown. "We miss her. We love her. We just pray for her daughter who she left behind. And Devina, we just want to say happy birthday and we love you."