Man admits to gunfight that killed rival in Jan. '08

A Dorchester man this week admitted that he gunned down a rival outside a Norton Street baby shower in January 2008. Ryan Gillespie, 24, was set to go on trial on Monday for the slaying of Joseph Clarke, 23. Instead, Gillespie pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter, apologized to Clarke’s kin and was immediately sentenced to 12 to 14 years in state prison.

Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley said that Gillespie was once romantically involved with Clarke’s girlfriend, a tie that sparked a confrontation when they crossed paths at the party. Outside, Gillespie “produced a firearm.” Clarke did the same. In the exchange of gunfire, Clarke was shot in the head.

Seven members of Clarke’s family- including his grandmother- addressed Gillespie in the courtroom, according to a press release from Conley’s office.

“I am so sorry to see the end of this. For a young man like you to go behind bars – I am deeply,
 deeply sorry for you,” said Clarke’s grandmother.
 Clarke’s mom spoke last.
“Ryan – I forgive you,” she said. “You have taken someone very special away from me.
“You took someone very special over something very silly - a girl; there are many girls. My family has 
forgiven you; I have raised my children to be kind and forgiving,” she said. “I hope you don’t take it lightly. Remember that you have taken a life and you don’t want to go that way again. As my mother said: I hate the horrible act you did, but you the person, I cannot hate.”