Niagara Gazette

Courts

September 27, 2013

Best gets four years; judge grants him youthful offender status

Leniency shown to Tyler Best in Tennant murder case

Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT — From his bench in a Niagara County courtroom on Friday, Judge Matthew J. Murphy III said he faced a challenge in sentencing Tyler Best.

The Buffalo teen, who pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution in the murder of Isabella Tennant, was facing a fate of anywhere from probation to state prison time.

"The murder of Isabella Tennant shocked the community with its senselessness," Murphy said. "But the question for the court is how do we make the punishment fit the crime."

The judge acknowledged that Best's role in the crime was far different from that of the confessed killer, John Freeman. Best, who was Freeman's friend, admitted to helping to dispose of Tennant's body.

Yet he also helped police to crack the case, by leading them to a garbage can in the 500 block alley of Third Street, where Tennant's body was stashed in a trash bag. Prosecutors argued Murphy should not consider Best a "hero" for telling cops where her body was.

"It seems he's been glorified as a hero and that is so inaccurate," First Assistant District Attorney Doreen Hoffmann said. "(Best) helped (Freeman) bag her. He's not a hero, he's a criminal. He didn't make one bad decision, he made a series of bad decisions."

Hoffmann argued Best had "a lot of opportunities" to tell police or others what had happened to Tennant and to "walk away" from helping Freeman dispose of her body.

"We seem to be overlooking all the wrong things he did," she said.

But Best's defense attorney, James Faso, argued that his client was "shocked" and "panicked" when his friend took him to the dead body of the little girl. He also said when Freeman fell asleep, after getting rid of the little girl's body, Best, who was 18 at the time, contacted his mother and went to police to tell them what had happened."

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Courts
Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page