Two teenagers in St. Augustine, Florida, were sentenced June 12 for their role in the 2015 fatal shooting of Indian American store clerk Malav Desai.
Circuit Judge Howard Maltz sentenced Sergio Morgan-Wideman, 17, to two life sentences, and Andre Jerome Robinson Jr. to 22 years in prison for their roles in the incident that occurred May 19, 2015, according to a St. Augustine Record report.
Morgan-Wideman’s sentences were for murder and armed robbery. The teen, who was 15 at the time of the crime, also received two five-year sentences for assault charges. The murder sentence is reviewable after 25 years and the robbery sentence following 20 years since he was a minor at the time of the crime, the Record reported.
Morgan-Wideman was convicted by a jury in March of first-degree murder, armed robbery and two counts of aggravated assault, which led to the June 12 sentencing. Robinson, who drove the getaway vehicle from the robbery at Tobacco & Beverage Express where Desai worked as a clerk, pleaded guilty in May to manslaughter with a firearm and robbery with a weapon in exchange for a reduced sentence, the report said.
According to his June 12 testimony, Robinson said he cried when he first saw the surveillance footage of Morgan-Wideman shooting Desai, and that he was unaware he planned to kill him.
During Morgan-Wideman’s hearing, his defense made a last plea to reduce the sentencing to 40 years with a review at 25 years, while the prosecution stood firm on its stance, saying the clerk never resisted and worked swiftly at handing over cash during the robbery, the report said.
The judge also likened the shooting to an execution, the Record added.
“We all watched, and will forever remember, the chilling video recording of the defendant executing Mr. Desai in cold blood,” Maltz said in the hearing, according to the report.
Following the hearings, Desai’s widow Aakanksha Desai, who flew from India to be at the sentencing hearings, said, “I want to thank the state attorney’s office for fighting to the end and I want to thank the judge because I feel that justice has been served,” according to the Record report.