Guilty - that's the verdict handed down Wednesday in the case of 19 year old Markel Bass. Bass is accused of shooting and killing 19 year old Dustin Powell. Emotions surged through the courtroom as Bass was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences behind bars.
Bass was found guilty Tuesday of both 2nd degree murder and armed robbery. In an apparent drug deal gone wrong, Bass shot powell in the back of the head at the my place apartments last october.
Wednesday, both sides argued hard. The defense questioning the reliability and integrity of the witnesses brought by the state, many of them being felons.
"Look at the rats that jumped off the ship," Assistant Public Defender Kim Dowgul told the courtroom. "Everyone of them had something to gain, every last one of them had an interest in it. Why? Cause their charges got dropped."
The prosecution countered that those details don't change the fact that Bass shot Powell. They played a recording of Bass speaking to his mother, in which Bass was talking about how he's be willing to take a 16 year sentence.
"His presumption of innocence is gone, it has left the building, it has gone somewhere else," prosecutor Robert Sombathy told the courtroom. "Innocent people do not want to do 16 years in prison."
The six man jury sided with the prosecution, finding Bass guilty on both charges. After Judge Brantley Clark Jr. heard statements from both families, he handed down the consecutive life sentences.
"As in all these types of cases, two families are always affected," Judge Clark said. "We're all reminded that in just the blink of an eye, everyone's life can change."
Powell's mother Julie Powell, who brought her son's ashes with her to the courtroom, was relieved.
"Markell Bass will never be able to get out of prison again to do this to anyone else," Powell's Mother Julie Powell said.
But the verdict was bittersweet in more ways than one.
"It's not going to bring Dusty back, " Powell's stepmother Tammy Adams said. "We feel for the other family, but we are pleased with the verdict," Adams said.