Man Sentenced to 50 Years for Woodbridge Student's Death - NBC4 Washington

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Man Sentenced to 50 Years for Woodbridge Student's Death

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    Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey reports on the sentencing of the man who killed 16-year-old Brenden Wilson. (Published Monday, March 14, 2016)

    The man convicted of killing a Woodbridge High School student will spend 50 years in prison.

    Kawain Smalls was sentenced Monday to 75 years in prison, with 25 years suspended. Smalls pleaded guilty last November in the shooting death of Brenden Wilson. 

    Wilson, 16, was shot multiple times along a popular path that students use to cut through to a nearby neighborhood.

    Smalls never met Wilson before deciding to avenge a confrontation between Wilson and his brother, prosecutors said. Smalls' sister allegedly lured Wilson to the area, telling him she wanted to buy marijuana.

    When Wilson reached into his pocket, Smalls shot him six times in the back. As Wilson lay on the ground, Smalls shot him again.

    Smalls confessed the day after the shooting.

    During the police interrogation, Smalls said he started shooting because he thought Wilson was reaching for a gun.

    "I just pulled the trigger just to put him down just one time," he said.

    At the sentencing hearing, Wilson's mother and sister took the witness stand to describe the impact of the murder on their family. Vikki Wilson Moore said she's been so devastated she gave up the job she'd held for more than a decade. She said she suffers from nightmares.

    During her testimony, she turned directly to her son's killer & confronted him. "If you'd just met him once, you would have liked him," she said. "I don't understand how you can shoot someone seven times and then put a gun to his face and pull the trigger."

    The victim's 20-year-old sister, Brittni Wilson, went to court for the first time, previously too fearful of what she'd see or learn. She said Brenden was her best friend.

    "I've been scared to face him (Smalls), scared to deal with the reality of the situation," she said. "I'm also scared of what I"m going to learn, the pictures, the details. It's very gruesome. The way he killed my brother was horrible."

    She realized this hearing was her final chance.

    "I was like, if I don't go today and go up on that stand and say how this has affected my life, I won't get that chance again," she said. "I know I"ll regret it and I'm not going to live my life regretting not speaking out for my brother."

    She too spoke directly to Smalls.

    "I don't know why you think you had the power to decide who lives and who dies," Brittni Wilson said.

    Smalls' mother and godmother asked the judge for leniency, explaining the 21-year-old had few male role models and faced many challenges. He began using drugs at age 11 and was expelled in eighth grade for taking a weapon to school.

    Smalls was last to speak, wiping away tears before he read from a lengthy hand-written apology.

    "I only wish and pray I could take this back and you could wake
    up and see your boy in the morning," he said. "To my mother and Brenden's mother, I owe my greatest apologies to both of you. There is no excuse for my actions. I wish I could take it all back."

    But the judge cited the victim's age and the execution style murder for imposing the stiff sentence. Smalls will serve 50 years behind bars and face another 25 years of suspended sentence when he's released.

    Four other people -- including Smalls' sister and brother -- also are charged in Wilson's death. Smalls' sister, who was 16 when she was charged, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob Wilson. She'll be sentenced March 30 in juvenile court.