PHOENIX (AP) — A man convicted of killing a teenager in a west Phoenix park as the boy defended his younger sister from an armed robbery was sentenced Friday to life in prison without a chance at parole, marking the toughest of two possible punishments he could have faced.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sam Myers declined a request from defense attorneys to sentence Vincent Quimayousie (KEE-mah-ousie) to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years and instead imposed the tougher punishment for his murder conviction in the 2012 death of 16-year-old Andrew Murphy.
The judge said Quimayousie was remorseful, but he emphasized that he killed an innocent person who was a child. "They'll never know what he could have become," Myers said of the Murphy family.
Authorities say Andrew Murphy was killed after he stepped in front of Quimayousie, then 18 years old, to confront him after he had approached Murphy's sister with a demand for money.
Quimayousie then ran away, threw his revolver under a vehicle and was arrested about a quarter mile away. Murphy, who was at the park with his 14- and 11-year-old sisters, was shot twice and was pronounced dead at a hospital about an hour later, police said.
Quimayousie also was convicted of attempted armed robbery and misconduct involving a weapon stemming from the holdup.
In comments he made before he was sentenced, Quimayousie turned away from the judge to face the Murphy family, saying he was genuinely sorry for his actions.
"I just can't imagine what it would be like for your guys," Quimayousie said, sniffling throughout his comments. "It's hard to go to sleep at night."
He commended Murphy family members who said they forgave him.
Murphy's family, including his younger sisters and mother, described the devastation the death has caused them and tearfully described Andrew Murphy as a generous and honorable person who looked after his family.
Quimayousie looked squarely at Murphy's aunt as she told the judge that the man who killed her nephew didn't deserve to be on the streets again. Quimayousie wiped away tears as his mother asked the judge for leniency.
Dominic Murphy, father of the victim, said he has no hatred for Quimayousie and his relatives. "If I had the chance, I would stand and take that bullet instead of my son," he said.
Quimayousie's family said they were sorry for their relative's actions. His grandmother, Josephine Quimayousie, paused as she gathered herself during her tearful comments to the judge. "He wasn't in his right mind," she said. "I don't know what he was doing out there that night."
Prosecutor Patricia Stevens told the judge Quimayousie shouldn't be given a chance to one day be released from prison and emphasized that Quimayousie, in trying to rob the Murphy children, had preyed on children by pointing his gun at them.