BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - A killer, who gunned down his victim in cold-blood on the streets of Buffalo, is going to prison.
The crime itself wasn't complicated, but getting to Tuesday's sentencing was anything but easy for the victim's grieving family.
With the help of Kevin Milon, Brandon Harper murdered Joseph Hale in July 2011. They lured him from Allentown to Ellicott Street with the promise to sell him marijuana. Then Harper shot Hale in the back.
The two suspects changed their stories after talking to police, and also after Milon pleaded guilty. At his trial, Harper claimed Milon was the gunman. But the jury didn't buy it and convicted him of first degree murder.
At his sentencing hearing, Harper turned to Hale's family and without taking responsibility, offered this:
"I apologize I wasn't able to do anything to change this situation."
Judge Michael D'Amico responded, "I'm going to sentence you to the maximum of life and the minimum of 25 years."
The judge seriously doubts Harper will be paroled after 25 years.
"I hope someplace along the way, Mr. Harper, you acknowledge your participation in this event. For your own mental health and for some peace for the people who have suffered this great loss," Judge D'Amico said.
Milon received 20 years in prison for his part in the cold-blooded murder.
Hale's family is just happy the courtroom drama is over.
Joseph Hale's wife, Dana Hale, said, "It's not going to bring him back. That's for sure."
The victim's sister, Stephanie King, added, "We're very happy with the outcome. Life without parole would have been better for Harper. But we're happy with them being put away. This is over. We're never going to have closure for any of this. We're just happy that it's finally over."
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