By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A 24-year-old man has been sentenced to prison for a road rage death which the defendant had blamed on his father (read related story).
Gerard Shaffer Junior was sentenced Wednesday to 11½ to 23 months in prison for the death of 54-year-old Mark Wallace in Northeast Philadelphia in April 2010.
The victim was crossing the street when he passed in front of a car driven by Gerard Shaffer Senior. Shaffer Jr. was a passenger. According to testimony, words were exchanged, then Shaffer Sr. got out of the vehicle, went after Wallace and fought with him.
Shaffer Jr. testified that he got out of the car and was trying to be a peacemaker when he grabbed Wallace, who went to the ground, hit his head, and later died from his injuries.
“He tried to break things up, he made some poor decisions, he probably shouldn’t have left the scene,” said defense attorney James Funt. “He was a young kid who made a bad mistake, but that’s what it was.”
Shaffer Sr. had also been charged, but he died before trial. Shaffer Jr. was acquitted of murder, but was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
During the trial, the victim’s sister called Shaffer, who cried throughout the trial and sentencing, a coward, a crybaby, and a criminal. But given the jury’s verdicts, wife Marie Elaine Wallace was satisfied with the sentence.
“I am very pleased with the court’s reaction in the sentencing in the matter of Gerard Shaffer,” she said. “He murdered a man and that is not acceptable.”
The defense was hoping for time already served.
Shaffer’s family sobbed as he was taken into custody immediately following his sentencing.