Ricks pleads guilty to manslaughter for assault of child in 2002

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 January 2020 at 10:19 am

DeVante Boston lived 15 1/2 years with severe disabilities before his death at age 20 in 2017

David Ricks

ALBION – A former Medina man pleaded guilty this morning to manslaughter in the first degree.

David Ricks, 41, admitted in court today he picked up a 4-year-old boy, DeVante Boston, and threw him to the floor in May 2002 after an argument with the boy’s mother about disciplining the child. Ricks was 24 at the time and was the boyfriend of DeVante’s mother.

“I took him from his mother and threw him to the floor,” Ricks told Judge Matthew Murphy of Niagara County, who is handling the case.

DeVante was never the same after that. He would live 15 1/2 years in a vegetative state. He was left unable to walk or talk after the assault. He stayed in a healthcare facility in Buffalo and functioned at about a 6-month-old’s level.

DeVante died at age 20 on Oct. 27, 2017 and the Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office said DeVante’s death was caused by his injuries when he was 4.

Ricks was released from state prison this summer after serving nearly 17 years after being convicted of first-degree assault in 2003.

He has been in the Orleans County Jail since his release from prison. He is being held without bail.

As part of a plea agreement today, he will face up to 25 years for the charge of manslaughter in the first degree. The nearly 17 years in prison will count toward that sentence so Ricks could face up to 8 years more in prison.

He was arraigned in County Court on May 22 for second-degree murder, for causing the severe injuries that led to the death of DeVante. With that charge, Ricks faced 25 years to life in prison.

As part of the plea today, Ricks agreed to not appeal the sentence.

A delayed death provision allows for murder charges to be filed when a person assaulted dies after the perpetrator is convicted of a lesser crime. District Attorney Joe Cardone said it is used in court, typically in cases where a death wasn’t long after a conviction for an assault charge.

The DA said Ricks recklessly caused the injuries, forcing DeVante to be severely disabled the rest of his life. And those injuries ultimately led to DeVante’s premature death, Cardone said.

Ricks is scheduled to be sentenced at 9 a.m. on March 2.

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