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Lancaster man denied sentence relief request, will continue to serve term for 2009 murder

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LANCASTER, LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa.– A Lancaster man who is serving a sentence for killing another man in 2009 will not get a new trial.

Sequoyah Hawkins, 33, was sentenced to 8-20 years after being convicted in 2012 of voluntary manslaughter in connection to the stabbing of 20-year-old Chrishon Gray.

Gray was stabbed by Hawkins in the 600 block of Marietta Avenue after Hawkins was involved in a fight with an acquaintance of Gray.

Hawkins had requested relief, saying that his attorney did not fully prepare him to testify and that the attorney did not fight to keep an exhibit out of trial evidence.

That exhibit is a video of Hawkins rapping lyrics that spoke of violence and selling drugs and was allowed as evidence at trial because Hawkins testified about his “non-violent” nature.

The jury was also able to view a video of the stabbing, which appears to show Gray throwing a punch at Hawkins before being stabbed in the neck.

Previously, Hawkins had filed for relief in Lancaster County Court, but Judge Jeffrey Wright denied the request, writing that that a voluntary manslaughter verdict “was the best possible outcome.”

Judge Wright also noted that Hawkins had to take the stand to support his claim of self-defense and his attorney told him that the rap video would likely be played.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court agreed with Wright’s reasoning for denying the request for relief.