Allante Floyd

Allante Floyd

A man whose wife died after being struck by a bullet accidentally discharged from a neighbor's gun spoke through tears in Lancaster County Court on Tuesday.

He asked the judge to let the defendant, Allante Floyd, go free.

"I believe in second chances," said Jose Arroyo.

Nearly a year ago, Floyd, 25, was cleaning his pistol when it discharged, sending a bullet through the wall of his East Liberty Street home and striking neighbor Nelmarys Rivera-Alequin in the head, according to police.

Rivera-Alequin, 38, died from a traumatic brain injury on April 23, a little over a week later.

"I want to you know from the bottom of my heart and the pit of my stomach my deepest apologies," Floyd said.

Both men cried.

"I forgive you brother," Arroyo said.

They shook hands.

"You don't see that often in this building," said Floyd's defense attorney Jack McMahon after the hearing.

Judge Margaret C. Miller sentenced Floyd up to 23 months in jail and two years of probation. Miller made Floyd, who has been in prison since April 16,  eligible for parole. 

"I believe you," Miller said of Floyd's apology. "I have had many people stand here claiming remorse, and it's lip service."

Floyd entered an open guilty plea to misdemeanor charges of involuntary manslaughter and three counts of recklessly endangerment. He waived a pre-sentence investigation.

"Make it up to (Arroyo) by making something of your life and not being defined by this," Miller said.

Lancaster County Assistant District Attorney Barry Goldman asked the judge to drop charges of discharging a firearm into a structure and possession of marijuana.

While Floyd was negligent in handling the firearm, it was not discharged intentionally, Goldman said. It was late at night, around 11 p.m., and Floyd was video chatting with his girlfriend. He had recently obtained the firearm, Goldman said.

"The way the Commonwealth sees it, it was a case of the wrong weapon, wrong time, wrong circumstance, wrong ammunition, wrong level of familiarity with the weapon," Goldman said. 

In comments to the judge, McMahon said Floyd has a "remarkable backstory." Floyd's mother was killed by his father when he was young. He went on to live with his siblings and graduate from Penn Manor High School and Millersville University, McMahon said.

Floyd told Arroyo he thinks about Rivera-Alequin and how their two children no longer have a mother.

"I understand what that's like," Floyd said.