JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The man convicted of second-degree murder in the shooting death of a high school classmate last year was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison.
Frederick Wade, who was found guilty in April of killing 20-year-old Kalil McCoy, was facing 25 years to life.
"Thank God justice was served," said Lynnette Roebuck, McCoy's mother, adding that she still has no closure.
Prosecutors said Wade shot McCoy in June 2011 in a heated argument and struggle over her wanting her window rolled up in the SUV they were in. They said there was a chance she could have survived if she had been taken to a hospital.
Wade took the stand during his sentencing hearing Wednesday, showing remorse for what he did.
"I'm sorry for the way we handled it," Wade said. "We should've handled it a different way. I know her family will probably never forget about what happened, but I'm sorry."
Wade said the killing was an accident and that he hit the brakes while driving and the gun he was holding went off.
"So you did?" the prosecutor asked.
"It was an accident," Wade said. "I can't change what happened that night. I can't bring Kalil back. I can't change nothing. The only thing I can do is pray about it and hope for the best."
McCoy's family didn't Wade's claim their relative's death was an accident.
"Your honor, bear with me, because I've been crying for a year, a month and eight days," Roebuck said as she took the stand. "To put a gun in your hand and use your finger to pull the trigger, now that's a choice."
"Today I ask that you show the defendant the same mercy he showed my daughter: none," Roebuck told the judge. "What sticks in my head is that the medical examiner said that her heart was still beating. It was suggested to take her to the hospital, yet the answer was no. She was discarded like trash. Not even given a chance to survive."
Before the judge read the sentence, he talked about Wade's history of violence, including battery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He also said there's no way holding a gun to someone's head is an accident -- not even close.
"My daughter will never be able to be a mother, she'll never be able to go to college, work," Roebuck said. "She'll never be able to have children. I'll never be able to be a grandmother to her kids. So I don't care how they feel because nobody can walk in my shoes."
During the trial, defense attorneys argued Wade did not kill McCoy but told police he accidentally did because he was tired after being interrogated by police for nearly seven hours.
They said the testimonies given by the three men in the backseat when McCoy was shot didn't match up.
McCoy, Wade and the three other suspects -- Kennard Mahone, Jonathan Brooks and Alfred Mears -- were classmates at Andrew Jackson High School, where McCoy graduated from weeks before her death.
Mahone, Brooks and Mears all pleaded guilty to being accessories after the fact after they admitted they helped dispose of McCoy's body, dumping it in the woods of a Tallyrand neighborhood. Brooks was sentenced to 15 years in prison, while the other two will be sentenced Aug. 20.
Wade was initially charged with manslaughter until the charge was upgraded in January to second-degree murder.
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