ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A 17-year-old found guilty in the shooting death of a St. Augustine store clerk during a 2015 robbery was sentenced Monday to two life terms. His getaway driver was sentenced to 22 years for his role in the murder.
Sergio Morgan-Wideman was convicted of one count of first-degree murder, one count of armed robbery and two counts of aggravated assault with a firearm in the fatal shooting of Malav Desai, 28.
Andre Robinson, 18, pleaded guilty in May to manslaughter with a firearm and armed robbery in the clerk's murder.
Morgan-Wideman, who was 15 when he shot Desai, was sentenced to life with parole on the murder and armed robbery charges and five years in prison for each of the aggravated assault charges. His sentences will run concurrently. He is eligible for a sentence review after 20 years on the armed robbery charge and after 25 years on the murder charge.
Prosecutors said Morgan-Wideman was the leader who made the decision to kill Desai, who was shot once in the forehead and died at the Tobacco and Beverage Express. Court documents say Morgan-Wideman got away with $600 before he and Robinson led police on a multi-county high-speed chase.
Morgan-Wideman's sentencing hearing became emotional as his mother described a troubled young man who had been using marijuana since age 11, when he lost his grandmother to cancer. She said he was not in his right mind when he robbed the store and that he had been negatively influenced by drug dealers, who got him hooked on molly.
“There are no words to explain the hurt and pain I feel in the depths of my soul for my son and Mrs. Desai,” Morgan-Wideman's mother, Maria Hardy, said. “No one wins here today. My son is not a monster. I truly feel if it had not been for this drug, we would all not be sitting here today.”
The defense argued that at age 15, Morgan-Wideman's brain lacked the ability to make mature decisions and understand the consequences of his actions.