Mr. Willie Kelsey, 35, was sentenced to life plus 80 years for killing young Timothy Johnson Jr., and shooting his 15-year-old sister Alexus Sheppard at least five times on Sept. 16, 2007, according to the district attorney’s office.
Mr. Kelsey accepted a negotiated plea that allowed him to avoid the death sentence.
Prosecutors said the shootings were executed to stop the witnesses from testifying to a violent break-in and robbery attempt that happened nearly a year earlier.
"The father, mother and daughter were to serve as witnesses to the burglary that took place in 2006," the district attorney's spokesman Mr. Erik Burton said."A day before they were to testify is when the hit was carried out."
Mr. Kelsey broke into the home where the family was staying with relatives and opened fire in one of the bedrooms where the siblings were sleeping, officials said.
Timothy Jr. was hit 11 times and Alexus survived gunshot wounds in the in the neck and legs, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Mrs. LaMonica and Mr. Timothy Johnson Sr., were not injured in the shooting carried out by Mr. Kelsey who was never implicated in the the brutal June 2006 break-in, Mr. Burton said. Still, he was associated with the four suspects who were convicted, prosecutors said.
On Thursday, Mrs. LaMonica Johnson’s words choked behind sobs as she looked at the man who killed her son, prosecutors said.
“You took something from us that we can never get back,” she said before embracing her equally emotional husband, the paper reported.
Mr. Kelsey offered an apology to the parents, Mr. Burton said.
“I’m sorry,” he said, according to the AJC. “If I could just bring him back … that’s all I can offer. I’m sorry.”
Mr. Kelsey, who has been in jail since December 2007, will be turned over to custody of the Georgia Department of Corrections.
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