KENT, Wash. - A teenager who shot and killed another Auburn teen at a neighborhood barbecue last year has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Security was tight at Friday's sentencing hearing for James Mills, 18, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder a few weeks ago in the death of 16-year-old Adrian Wilson after reaching a deal with prosecutors.
KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Chris Legeros said the scene at court was dramatic, as the victim's mother, brother and grandmother condemned Mills and criticized the investigation, the plea agreement and the prosecutor's sentencing recommendation of 17 years.
Mills expressed remorse. His aunt and uncle said he was bullied by Wilson and that Wilson was affiliated with a gang.
Wilson's mother, Joy Smith, said the 20-year sentence is not enough.
“It is the most classless and disgusting thing I’ve ever seen,” said Smith. “I have a pain that runs through me so vicious that I can barely breathe at times, much less stand.”
Wilson’s family said they were upset the prosecutor didn't charge Mills with first-degree murder, which would have carried a life sentence if Mills were convicted. Prosecutors said they didn’t have enough evidence to charge Mills with first-degree murder.
Nearly 11 months ago, Mills fired the fatal gunshot that killed Wilson at a group barbecue at an Auburn apartment complex, prosecutors said.
According to court papers, there was an argument, Mills left, then came back with a gun, shot Wilson, and ran.
He was arrested a few days later.
During the sentencing, Mills was sitting behind his lawyer and said he didn’t mean to kill Wilson.
Mills’ family tried to claim that Wilson was a gang member who was threatening Mills for a whole year.
“This is the outcome of the situation of many months of being tortured, many months of being bullied,” said Jermaine Holloway, Mills’ cousin.
Wilson’s mother said the 20-year sentence wasn't enough after losing her son.
“To sit in there and listen to these people bask my son, who’s been murdered, I’m sick,” Smith said. “It is the most classless and disgusting thing I’ve ever seen.”