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Mother of 1-year-old boy shot, killed by stray bullet speaks out after gunman sentenced

PITTSBURGH — The mother of a toddler shot and killed by a stray bullet is talking for the first time since the sentencing in the case.

Zykier Young was shot in August 2020 when he was just 17 months old. His mother, Zephora Bernard, spoke to Channel 11′s Talia Kirkland.

Andre Crawford is now behind bars at the Allegheny County Jail, sentenced to five to 10 years for killing Zykier. Bernard said this sentencing wasn’t justice.

“It doesn’t make any sense,” Bernard said.

On Thursday, Andre Crawford pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced as part of a plea deal. It was a plea deal Bernard said should have never been offered.

“There shouldn’t have been any plea deals at all. He already admitted to the detective and everyone that he did it,” Bernard said.

According to police, on August 24, 2020, a shootout between a group of men: Andre Crawford, Marvin Hill, and Devon Thompson, erupted at the Three River Manor Apartment complex where baby Zykier and his mother lived.

“The last thing I can remember is a bullet coming through my wall,” she said.

Zephora said the day started off amazing, Zykier was beginning to talk.

“He said ‘Mom’ for the first time,” she recalled.

But a few hours later, a stray bullet from Crawford’s gun came through the wall, killing baby Zykier in his bed.

“I have family, but I don’t have family. He took everything away from me,” Bernard said.

Bernard, a teen mom at the time, went to the initial hearings by herself and said she didn’t understand the deal being offered. If she had she would have never agreed.

Crawford would later admit to the crime taking a plea deal in exchange for his testimony against Hill. Thompson also took a deal and was immediately released from jail, and paroled.

Hill is still awaiting his sentencing.

“For him to get the time served and possibly probation soon, that means he is about to be out,” Bernard said.

Bernard told Channel 11 News her son’s murderer will soon be free to live his life while she will have to deal with the loss of her baby, who never got a chance to live his life.

“I just hoped one day he would be able to grow up and be a part of this world. But he won’t even get to do that, he couldn’t even learn his ABC,” she said.

Marvin Hill, the third man involved in the shooting, will be sentenced Tuesday morning.

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