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State Supreme Court Justice Richard C Kloch Sr. stuck to his commitment and sent a Lockport man to prison for 18 years on Monday for his role in an April 2020 homicide.

Kloch sentenced Davaris Hodge, 28, to 18 years behind bars and five years post release supervision for his guilty plea to a single count of first-degree manslaughter in the slaying of Leon Johnson.

Hodge had originally faced a grand jury indictment that charged him with second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He had pleaded not guilty to those charges, but was facing a potential sentence of 25 years to life behind bars had he been convicted after a trial. 

With a date for jury selection nearing, Hodge opted to take a plea deal from prosecutors.

New York State Police troopers said they responded to a call of a shooting on Cambridge Drive in the Town of Lockport around 2:33 a.m. on April 12. When they arrived, they found Johnson, 36, inside his home.

Johnson was suffering from multiple gunshot wounds at that time. He was given medical treatment by EMTs, but later died from his wounds.

State Police investigators said they were able to track Hodge to a motel in the Rochester area. He was taken into custody at that time and charged in a criminal complaint with Johnson's murder.

Police have not said what led them to Hodge as a suspect in the homicide. Neither police nor prosecutors have commented on a possible motive for the slaying.

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