JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A judge Wednesday morning sentenced DeAngelo Thomas to life in prison for killing a Navy chief petty officer last year.
Prosecutors said 40-year-old David Gilbert was killed in April 2010 when he came home and found Thomas burglarizing his apartment. Gilbert was fatally shot in front of his girlfriend and 3-year-old daughter, who had to be carried out of the apartment over her father's dead body.
Thomas, 31, was convicted of first-degree murder in February.
The jury deadlocked 6-6 in the penalty phase of that case, which usually means the defendant will be sentenced to life in prison. Prosecutors requested that Thomas be given the death penalty anyway because of the heinous nature of the killing.
Circuit Judge Jeff Morrow was considering that request when he died in March. Circuit Judge Michael Weatherby was assigned to take over the case. The sentencing was delayed several times to give Weatherby time to review the case.
Before announcing the sentence, Weatherby told Thomas this was one of the "stupidest killings he had ever heard about."
"I'm happy for the family it?s over, because I think they needed closure one way or the other," prosecutor Jeff Moody said. "Am I satisfied? Candidly, it will always be my belief that justice was never fully done on this because I believe DeAngelo Thomas deserved the death penalty. I feel sorry and bad for the family that we were not able to obtain that for them.?
The victim's mother said there is some comfort in the sentence, and that the process is complete.
"We can tell the children that he won?t ever get out to hurt anyone else," Wilmarie Gilbert said after the sentencing. ?He won?t get out anymore."
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