ATLANTA — The mother of a man murdered at Underground Atlanta told a judge she cries every time she drives by the area.
Channel 2's Tom Jones was in court when Mychal Fair's family heard the man accused of killing him admit to the shooting. Brandon Barnes, 27, pleaded guilty in the killing that took place in August 2013.
After a judge sentenced him to 35 years with 30 to serve in prison, Fair's mother told a judge her son's death has left a huge black hole in her heart.
"Whenever I drive past Underground Atlanta, I break down and cry," Elizabeth Flynn said.
Barnes' voice was barely above a whisper when he was asked how he pleaded.
"Guilty," he said.
"Is that because you are, in fact, guilty?" Fulton County Assistant District Attorney Pat Dutcher asked.
"Yes," Barnes responded.
Barnes pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of voluntary manslaughter, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon and possession of a weapon during the commission of a felony.
Barnes didn't address Fair's family.
Fair's family hoped the sentence sends a message.
"We want this judgment to be an example that this senseless gun violence will not be tolerated," Mychal's father, Michael Fair, said.
Prosecutors say Mychal Fair's friends got into an altercation with another group at Underground Atlanta. Fair, there to buy uniforms for a new job, tried to break it up. The two groups left and witnesses say that's when Barnes returned.
"The defendant pulled a gun out and opened fire, striking the victim," Dutcher told the court.
Fair's mother and father looked at Barnes and shook their heads as they passed him in court.
"I just wanted him to see me. I wanted him to see the devastation he caused," Fair’s father told Jones.
Fair's mother says her faith requires her to forgive Barnes.
"I forgive him, and it’s hard. It's very hard," she said.
The judge asked Fair's family to find something positive to do instead of being angry at Barnes. The family says it is working on a stop-the-violence initiative in Mychal Fair's honor.