Falls man gets maximum sentence in 2021 murder case

Feb. 19—A Falls man got the maximum sentence on Wednesday for pulling the trigger in what police and prosecutors described as a "retaliation shooting" that led to murder.

Niagara County Court Judge Caroline Wojtaszek sentenced Jamel J. Lyons to 25 years to life in prison for his conviction on a charge of second-degree murder in the shotgun shooting slaying of Allah Reese Jr. in February 2021.

A Niagara County Court jury deliberated for about an hour, following a five-day trial in December, before finding Lyons, 28, guilty of killing Reese.

Falls police said they were called to the 500 block of 20th Street at about 1:30 a.m. Feb. 1, 2021 for a report of a man who had been laying in the snow for about 30 minutes. When officers arrived on the scene, they found Reese, 26, of the Falls, laying in a snowbank near a porch behind a home.

Reese was pronounced dead at the scene from an apparent gunshot wound. Witnesses told police that they had heard a gunshot in the area around 12:30 a.m., but did not see anyone.

Over the course of the trial, a prosecution witness told jurors that she had been shot by Reese earlier that year and that Lyons may have shot Reese "in retaliation" for that incident.

"This was a cold-blooded, calculated killing," Niagara County District Attorney Brian Seaman said after the verdict. "The jury's verdict serves justice in this case."

Reese did not testify or call witnesses in his defense during the trial.

Prosecutors praised the work of the late Falls Police Detective Kristina Zell, who spearheaded the nearly nine-month investigation of Reese's murder.

"Some cases come together and are solved right away. This case was not like that," Seaman said after the sentencing. "This case was only solved because of the persistent efforts of lead Detective Kristina Zell and her colleagues at the Niagara Falls Police Department. Because of their efforts and the efforts of First Assistant District Attorney Doreen Hoffmann and Assistant District Attorney Maria Stoelting from my office, this extremely violent and dangerous individual will no longer be at large in our community."