Dothan (WTVY)-- Convicted killer Kharon Davis was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison. A jury found him guilty September 22 of felony murder in the 2007 fatal shooting of Pete Reaves.
"When I buried my child I felt like I was getting in the grave with him," the victim's mother, Betty Reaves, said after sentencing.
During the court hearing Davis took the stand and read a letter he penned in the Houston County Jail. He apologized for Reaves death, said he was high on marijuana when the fatal shooting occurred, but denied responsibility.
Afterwards, Chrycynthia Davis, Kharon's mother, proclaimed her son's innocence. "He did not pull the trigger."
The case received national attention because it took over 10 years to bring Davis to trial.
Some, including the NAACP, say when Davis—he is black-- finally went to trial the proceedings were unfair because the jury was all-white.
The 12-member panel could have found him guilty of capital murder. If it had, Davis faced life in prison without the possibility of parole—the death penalty had been taken off the table by prosecutors.
Instead, Davis receives credit for time he awaited trial and sentencing and will be eligible for parole almost immediately.
Cases against co-defendants Kevin McCloud and Lorenzo Stacey were resolved years ago. Stacey was acquitted in 2009 and McCloud, in 2011, pleaded guilty to a lesser murder charge and received a 99-year prison sentence in a deal with prosecutors.
Davis’ trial, though, was evasive. The first judge assigned the case retired and his first attorney was removed due to a possible conflict of interest. The attorney’s son, a Dothan police officer, had been involved in the investigation. Davis’ wanted his second attorney dismissed and a third withdrew.
Current defense attorney Dustin Fowler promises an appeal. "There was no evidence during trial that my client ever went into that apartment (where Reaves was killed)," he said.
The case was prosecuted by the Alabama Attorney General Office due to a conflict by Houston County District Attorney Pat Jones who represented a co-defendant.
“This sentence of life in prison delivers an important measure of justice for the family of Pete Dwayne Reaves,” said Attorney General Marshall. “Kharon Davis was convicted of felony murder and he deserves this, the most severe penalty available.
---Story updated at 12:58 p.m. to reflect comments of Mr. Fowler, Ms. Davis, and Ms. Reaves.
---Story updated at 6:52 p.m. to reflect comments of comments of Mr. Marshall.