Man sentenced in shooting death of Shaker High student

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A man from Albany was sentenced in the death of Destiny Greene, 15. Branden Rivera, 20, was sentenced Thursday by Judge William Little to 25 years in prison and five years of post-release supervision.  

Greene was shot and killed during a botched robbery in downtown Albany in May 2021 that police say was a social media transaction gone wrong. Rivera’s attorney claimed he arranged the robbery, but is not the person who pulled the trigger. He took a plea deal for attempted murder in late 2022.

Rivera sat emotionless as he learned his fate. He made repeated hand gestures at the cameras in court.

Friends and family of Destiny packed the courtroom, a sign of her impact on her city and Shaker High, where she was a student. Destiny loved to act, model, had a keen fashion sense and was friends with what seemed like everyone at school.  She was raised in a loving home with her two parents and grandparents involved in her life.

Destiny’s family has been open about the ways her murder tore apart the fabric of their small family. Her grandmother Fidelia showed compassion during her impact statement, saying she wishes Rivera would have sought help before turning to crime.

“I have helped so many people in the South End with so many different issues, that I’m sure I would have been able to help you and guide you. I dream of milestones such as graduations, weddings, work advancements and the starting of their own families and the like. Branden, you took all that away from me,” said Fidelia Rodriguez, explaining she had to leave her job and move out of the area where Destiny was killed.

Destiny’s mother and father gave victim impact statements, as did her sister, Elijahnae Greene.

“I can stand here and spill hate, but that’s not in my heart and character. I’m going to lend you positive affirmation. It’s time for you to be the protagonist,” she said.

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Rivera apologized in court, saying he had no parents or support. 

“I’m glad I got this time to help me learn from my mistakes,” Rivera said, acknowledging that the family would never get Destiny back.

Outside court, Destiny’s mother, Tareen Lynch Greene, wasn’t convinced.

“What he said, I really don’t believe. He’s sorry for himself. That’s it,” she said. “It was an afterthought when he said, ‘I apologize, I’m sorry.’ He should’ve led with that statement.”

Destiny’s family created the ‘My Destiny Scholarship Foundation’ to guide young students. They are giving $500 to two promising students this year, to help them continue their education. Something positive, said her mother, to come out of the tragedy.

“At least once a year, Destiny will continue to help people as if she were still here, by helping them with monetary gifts to reach their goal,” she said.

As part of the plea, Rivera can’t appeal.

Albany Police continue to investigate the person or people who may also have been involved in Destiny’s murder.