CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – A man convicted of killing two people at a nightclub in Fleming Island several years ago is now serving two life sentences in prison on second-degree murder charges.
Cornelius Walston, 30, has been behind bars since 2009 in the stabbing deaths of David Smith and Kevin Martin. He was convicted in April and sentenced Friday morning in a Clay County courtroom.
"It's frustrating. It's been too long. It should have never been this long," said Victoria Deloera, who said she was Martin's best friend. "It should have never happened and he'll find justice."
Deloera said she is standing by Martin's mother as Friday's sentencing brought justice three years after Martin was killed.
"We're ready for this to be over with. He did it, he knows he did it, he was convicted," said Martin's mother, Jennifer Todaro. "We know our justice. It won't be in this courtroom, it'll be in the afterlife."
Walston was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder. According to the Clay County Sheriff's Office, in October 2009, Walston got into a fight with Martin and Smith at Club Myth in Fleming Island. Authorities said it started inside the bar, then carried into the parking lot. Deputies said Walston stabbed Smith in the chest and Martin in the left arm.
Smith's family has been at every pretrial hearing, leaning on their faith to get them through.
"I already have peace that no matter what, he's going to answer our prayers. We pray for justice, not vengeance, but for justice that he'll never do this to somebody else's family," said Smith's sister, Kari Johnson.
The Smith family told Channel 4 Walston has a child of his own and now he won't see that child grow up.
"He destroyed his life for what he did. He deprived us of Wiley. His family will be deprived of him because of something he's done," said Smith's mother, Susan Smith.