Though they knew what would happen, Adrian Lessley's family rejoiced Thursday when a judge sentenced his killer to life in prison.
"He'll be sitting thinking about this for the rest of his life," said Lessley's mother, Dedrah Lessley of Minneapolis. "It's a long time coming."
Douglas County District Judge Gary Randall sentenced Kevin Watt, 25, to the mandatory sentence: life in prison with no possibility of parole for first-degree murder.
Randall also added 15 to 30 years for each of three other charges: first-degree assault, use of a weapon to commit a felony and possession of a deadly weapon.
A cadre of Lessley's family members laughed, shouted and hugged one another after the sentencing hearing.
"I'm just so happy," said Lessley's cousin Malaina Station, who added that she feels sorry for Watt's mother.
Prosecutors say Lessley, 25, intervened in a Nov. 10, 2010, argument in northeast Omaha between Watt and another man, Jason Marion.
Watt went to his truck and retrieved a rifle, which he used to shoot Lessley eight times. He also shot Marion in the shoulder.
A prosecutor said five witnesses identified Watt as the shooter.
Watt proclaimed his innocence and asked for a new trial.
"I would like to state and reiterate that I am not guilty," he told the judge.
Randall denied the motion.
Family members were not pleased with Watt's conduct.
"He came to court and he smirked, and he smiled at us," said Lessley's cousin and best friend, Alisha Hobson.
Lessley's mother said Watt should have acknowledged his guilt.
"Thank God there were witnesses," she said.
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