It took eight days for Dayshawn Summers to turn his new lease on life into another man’s death.
The gun-toting Upper West Side man dodged a jail term for carrying a loaded gun in a livery cab through a June 5 plea deal personally approved by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. — over protests from senior prosecutors, sources said.
And then, in the early morning hours of June 13, the 22-year-old Summers chased down Terrence Neil over an unspecified beef and casually blasted him from behind as the man ran for his life, authorities said. The bleeding 29-year-old victim collapsed in the arms of horrified family members and died while Summers fled the scene.
“I was in court when I found out (about the deal),” said the victim’s mother Pia Neil, 51, fighting back tears in her Bronx home. “I couldn’t believe it.”
She spoke with the Daily News just a few feet away from a red lacquer urn that holds Terrence’s ashes.
The “alternative to incarceration” deal offered Summers the opportunity to avoid any time behind bars or even serve probation if he satisfied several conditions. After 18 months of good behavior and a year of participation in a Fortune Society program, he would enter a plea to a lesser felony. He agreed to earn a high school GED, hold a job and submit to regular drug tests.
Social media posts indicated Summers was a less than ideal candidate for the program: Photos captured him flashing what appear to be gang signs, flanked by wads of cash and smoking blunts. And such deals are unusual in New York, where prison time is generally expected in cases. Summers faced a term of 3 ½ to 15 years behind bars.
The details of Neil’s brutal demise were revealed at Summers’ Aug. 28 arraignment for second-degree murder and weapons possession.
According to prosecutors, a fistfight broke out between the two men near Macombs Pl. and W. 151st St. in Harlem around 12:40 a.m. When the scuffle ended, the still-simmering Summers headed to the Harlem River Houses, grabbed a handgun and came back looking for his unarmed foe.
Minutes earlier, Neil was performing karaoke and rapping for friends and relatives gathered nearby. And now he was sprinting away from Summers, looking for a place to hide.
Summers fired a single shot that tore through Neil’s back and then penetrated his heart, said Assistant District Attorney Samuel David. The mortally wounded Neil ran around the corner and collapsed in the arms of the revelers, who watched helplessly as the he took his last breaths.
Investigators insisted the murder case against Summers was rock solid, citing a series of sketchy searches done on the suspect’s phone.
On the afternoon after the shooting, Summers allegedly Googled this phrase: “The first 48 hours of an investigation.” In July, investigators say, the suspect posed the question, “What evidence do you need to convict someone of murder?”
Prosecutor David said Summers was also scouring the web for possible news hits about the Neil murder.
“He doesn’t know what he did to our family,” said Neil’s mother of the accused killer. “This boy will never know what we lost.”
Pia Neil, who keeps a portrait of her son as part of a makeshift memorial to Terrence, noted the murder suspect’s mom can still “share birthdays, kisses and hugs” with her child.
“All I have is memories of my son,” she said. “I’m devastated.”
According to sources, an advocacy group lobbied to the highest levels of the DA’s office on Summers’ behalf to cut him a second-chance deal.
Vance spokesman Danny Frost said the decision to extend a non-prison offer to Summers was part of progressive initiative for incarceration alternatives supported by the office.
“Like all justice reform initiatives, reducing unnecessary incarceration and promoting alternatives means taking calculated risks,” Frost said. “At the time of Mr. Summers’ plea offer, the defendant had been out on bail for over a year, was gainfully employed, was the primary caretaker for a relative, and had no previous history of violence … Unfortunately, however, the defendant is alleged to have committed a homicide while he was out on bail.”
Summers’s mom Lisa Gordon also defended the accused shooter and his character.
“He’s a good kid — a very hard working kid,” said Gordon, 43. “He helps his mother. He pays bills. He even does the house work.”
Summers, free on $10,000 bond since shortly after his Jan. 1, 2017, arrest for carrying a loaded .22-caliber Beretta handgun, was back behind bars on Aug. 14 after his arrest on suspicion of the homicide. He was later indicted and pleaded not guilty to the murder.
By the time Summers was re-arrested, he had “tested positive for marijuana at least eight or nine times” in violation of the drug-free commitment made just months prior, prosecutor David told Justice Ellen Biben.
Biben said at the time that she was “feeling extremely disappointed because I know that Mr. Summers really presented great promise.”
Summers readily admitted to having the gun early last year and DNA testing connected him to the weapon.
“Don’t worry. It’s my fault. I got it,” he said in the presence of a cop the night of the arrest. He was busted alongside a pal after police saw them openly drinking.