UPDATE: 20-year-old Tronte Pickett has been sentenced to the maximum 20 years in prison for the death of Jordan Bounsinh last September.
Pickett pleaded guilty second degree murder, admitting he shot Bounsinh at a gas station on East State Street near SwedishAmerican Hospital. Pickett has prior felony convictions for robbery and possession of a controlled substance and was on parole at the time of the murder. Because of these prior convictions, he is not eligible for parole.
We will have more on this story tonight on 23 News.
ROCKFORD (WIFR) – The families of both a Rockford murder victim
and the person who pulled the trigger are speaking out before a judge decides on the gunman's sentence.
Rob Hawkins says it’s been a difficult nine months for his family since last September when his nephew, Jordan Bounsinh was gunned down at a Mobil gas station on East State Street.
“People ask how do you deal with it…you just never forget, you just kinda learn to live," said Hawkins.
Police say the 22-year-old’s killer is 20-year-old Tronte Pickett.
Pickett plead guilty to second degree murder on July 7th and now faces up to 20 years in prison for taking Bounsinh’s life.
Bounsinh’s family feels if Pickett gets the maximum 20 years it simply wouldn't be long enough.
“I mean to take a life and that’s all you get? It was shocking,” said Hawkins.
Hawkins says he and his family are upset with what happened but aren't pointing fingers at Pickett and his family instead they're unhappy with the justice system.
Pickett entered an open plea, admitting guilt, effectively tying the hands of prosecutors, according to deputy state’s attorney James Brun.
“People may not be favorable or may not like that disposition but the fact is as a prosecutor we do not have control over what those numbers should be.”
Brun wouldn't comment directly on Bounsinh’s case but says prosecutors weigh all the facts and circumstances before charging an individual with murder.
“Anytime we can obtain a conviction and have someone off the streets, I think we are in fact doing our job appropriately and helping our community.”
“We’re dissatisfied, but we’re not unhappy with them or no hard feelings," said Hawkins.
Hawkins says his family feels the greatest pain is knowing no matter what the sentence, Pickett will have the chance to be free one day and Bounsinh is gone forever.
Pickett's mother, Alberta Pickett, says she understands the Bounsinh family's grieve and would be just as angry and asking for a higher sentence too if the shoe was on the other foot.
"I can understand why they upset, because if it was the other way around we'd be upset too," says Alberta Pickett.
“Just doesn't fit the crime…that’s how I feel, that’s how we all feel," said Hawkins.
"I mean 22 years we got to spend with him, his family gets to spend the rest of his life with him.”
Alberta Pickett says her son doesn't deserve a long sentence because she claims her son was defending himself when he shot Bounsinh.
The Bounsinh family tells us they find that last statement by Pickett troubling.
Hawkins, Bounsinh's uncle, responded by saying "We have not once commented in the media on the incident itself. We haven't pointed blame even once at Tronte and his family. All our message has been that we miss Jordan and it's sad both families are now suffering."
Tronte Pickett’s sentencing is set for August 25.
ROCKFORD (WIFR) – The man accused of killing another man at a Rockford gas station, says he’s guilty.
20-year-old Tronte Pickett plead guilty to second degree murder for the death of 22-year-old Jordan Bounsinh. Police say Pickett shot Bounsinh in the head while the two were arguing at the Mobil gas station on East State Street last fall. Pickett faces up to 20 years in prison.
He is scheduled to be sentenced August 25, 2014.