ITHACA, N.Y. — The Ithaca man who shot a man five times on the Ithaca Commons has pleaded guilty to assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

In Tompkins County Court on Wednesday, Yakez Cornett, 22, pleaded guilty to first-degree assault and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He could face up to 15 years in prison.

Yakez Cornett, 22, of Ithaca. Provided Photo

At about 1:15 a.m. April 9, Ithaca police responded to a shooting on the Ithaca Commons near Silky Jones. Though Cornett attempted to flee the scene on foot, he was apprehended by police minutes after the shooting.

Records: Man admitted to Ithaca Commons shooting, witnesses turned him in to police

According to witnesses on the scene that night, before the shooting Cornett had bumped into another man and there was an argument. A friend separated the two, but while they were walking away they heard gunshots. Cornett fired several shots and struck the victim five times — four in the back and one in the leg. No one else was injured.

Yakez Cornett is apprehended by Ithaca police on April 9. Provided Photo

The victim survived, but will live with permanent damage. Four bullets are still in his back because it was too risky to remove them, District Attorney Matthew Van Houten said. The victim also now has a rod in his leg and will have a permanent limp.

Cornett was indicted on three counts in May — first-degree assault, second-degree attempted murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Cornett pleaded guilty to the first and third counts of the indictment Wednesday. As part of the plea, Cornett admitted he intended to cause serious injury when he shot the victim and that he possessed a loaded firearm.

In court proceedings, Cornett has given no motive for the shooting. His attorney Kevin Kelly said Cornett has no criminal record and has two young children, one of which he was the primary caregiver until his incarceration.

Cornett’s sentencing is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 22.

Update: A mugshot of Cornett was added post-publishing. 

Kelsey O'Connor

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.