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Former schoolmates resolve Groton restaurant shooting cases with plea deals

August 9, 2018

Three former schoolmates charged in connection with a botched robbery in October 2016 that ended in a shooting at the 99 Restaurant & Pub in Groton have been sentenced recently in New London Superior Court.

Groton Town Police say Timothy B. McKoy of Groton, now 20, Cevon T. Riley and Renso Gonzalez, both 19 and of New London, had attended high school together and planned to rob another teen when he arrived to sell them an ounce of marijuana. They drove to the Long Hill Road restaurant in a stolen Honda CR-V, a fight broke out and one of them pulled a gun and shot the 17-year-old victim.

A doctor who treated the victim told police the bullet traveled through his left hand, causing several bone fractures, and into the lower left side of his torso, going through his colon/large intestine and left kidney before coming to rest against his spine.

Police initially alleged Riley, who had been recruited to serve as “muscle,” was the shooter but while the cases were pending, prosecutor Stephen M. Carney said McKoy confessed to being the gunman in phone calls and letters from prison that were intercepted by the Department of Correction and turned over to the state’s attorney’s office.

McKoy pleaded guilty to first-degree assault with a firearm and carrying a pistol without a permit. Judge Hillary B. Strackbein sentenced him on Aug. 2 to 10 years in prison followed by eight years of special parole.

Riley pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery and was sentenced July 17 to eight years in prison, suspended after two years served, followed by eight years of probation.

Gonzalez, believed to be the least culpable defendant, was incarcerated for 11 months while his case was pending. He pleaded no contest to third-degree robbery and second-degree assault charges and was sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison, fully suspended, followed by three years of probation.

Four days after the Oct. 2 shooting, McKoy was arrested by New London police during a traffic stop. They said he was carrying a bag of clothes that contained a 9 mm handgun.

He agreed to speak with Groton detectives. He denied driving to the 99 Restaurant but admitted he stole the Honda, which he referred to as a “stolie,” and said he dumped it at an apartment complex on Westridge Road after Riley wiped it down. McKoy identified himself and Riley in surveillance images recovered by police.

McCoy went on to describe how Riley threw a gun in the water near Fred’s Shanty on Pequot Avenue.

k.florin@theday.com

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