Detroit man sentenced in connection to 3-year-old's death on Easter Sunday

Jonathan Burks, 30, found guilty of first-degree home invasion, felony firearms

By John Steckroth - Editor

DETROIT - A Detroit man was sentenced Tuesday morning on two charges in connection to the death of a 3-year-old girl on Easter Sunday.

Jonathan Burks, 30, was found guilty by a jury of first-degree home invasion and felony firearms violations. The jury found him not guilty on charges of first-degree murder, felony murder, two counts of assault with intent to murder and the discharge of a firearm causing death.

"I would like to say sorry for what happened to the little girl," Burks said. "I have deep emotions because I have a little girl myself."

"If you have a small child, then you of all people should have known the possible harm and heartache could come from gunfire," Judge Timothy Kenny said to Burks.

Burks' lawyer, James Howarth, countered, saying a jury found Bruks not guilty of being the shooter.

"If we take all the people who went to Riverview, the person who did the least was Mr. Burks," Howarth said.

"I disagree," Kenny said.

Burks was sentenced to 18 to 40 years on the first-degree home invasion and two years for the felony firearms conviction.

Burks is one of four men originally charged in connection to the death of A'naiya Montgomery. He maintained he was just the getaway driver, but the judge disagreed, saying Burks was the one who "rallied" his friends to go to the home on Easter Sunday.

The sentencing

The prosecutor asked for maximum sentences. The defense asked for leniency.

Family members of A'naiya were not in attendance. 

“I would just like to say I’m sorry for what happened to the little girl,” Burks said. “I have very deep emotions for that because I have a little girl myself.”

Burks apologized and asked for leniency so he could get back to his daughter.

Judge Timothy Kenny scolded Burks during the sentencing saying that Burks should have known better since he has a daughter and was more involved than what he told the jury.

"If it weren't for you're active involvement, that 3-year-old child would be alive today," Kenny said.

Burks was sentenced to at least 20 years in prison.

Defendants charged, sentences handed down

Four men were charged with crimes ranging from first-degree murder to felony firearms violations.

Diallo Davis, 24, of Detroit, pleaded guilty to assault with intent to murder and was sentenced to nine to 20 years in prison.

Reginald Street, 19, of Detroit, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and felony firearms, but the prosecutor later withdrew his plea. Street has a hearing scheduled for Wednesday.

Paul G. Kendall, 24, of Ecorse, was charged and later found dead in his cell at the Wayne County Jail. It was determined that Kendall committed suicide. Prosecutors said they intended to prove Kendall was the shooter.

What happened

Four men went to a house in the 16800 block of Riverview Street in Detroit on Easter Sunday and forced their way into the home, according to authorities.

The shooting was reported at about 2 a.m.

The gunmen fired shots, killing 3-year-old A'naiya Montgomery. Her mother was holding her when she was shot. She died of multiple gunshot wounds.

READ: Mom of 3-year-old killed in shooting says she was ‘sweetest little girl ever’

A 39-year-old man and a 26-year-old man in the home suffered non-fatal gunshot wounds.

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