JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Duval County judge on Friday handed a death sentence to a man convicted of killing a a 40-year-old man who tried to intervene in a robbery of a co-worker three years ago.
In April, Galante Phillips was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Christopher Aligada, who was shot twice during the robbery attempt in the parking lot of Builders First Source on Roosevelt Boulevard in October 2005.
The same jury that convicted Phillips voted 7-5 to recommend the death penalty.
On Friday morning, Judge Mallory Cooper sentenced Phillips to death.
"You have not only forfeited your right to live among us, but under the laws of the State of Florida, you have forfeited your right to live at all," Cooper said from the bench. "The scales of life versus death for the murder of Christopher Aligada tilt unquestionably to the side of death."
After the sentencing hearing, prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda comforted the victim's mother, Erlinda Aligada.
"Your son was a hero. That's what you need to remember now," de la Rionda told her. "He risked his own life to help his friend and he's in a better place. Thank God there's people like that in the world."
Through her tears, Aligada was firm in wanting to see her son's killer punished.
"I'm going to be in the first row. I'm going to see him die. I want to see him squirm," she said. "I'm gonna pray hard that I live longer. I'm 65 years old now, and it will take a while before his sentence be carried out, but I'll be there."
de la Rionda said that of all the murder cases he has tried, this one stands out.
"Mr. Aligada could have just walked away while his friend was being robbed, but he cared enough to go to his aid and he gave his life in the process," de la Rionda said.