DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A family was overcome with emotion during a plea hearing in DeKalb County Monday for the 2014 death of 9-month-old Kendarius Edwards.
Devin Thomas pleaded guilty to murder, multiple aggravated assault charges and a terrorism charge in exchange for a life sentence plus 20 years, and the possibility to get parole. He agreed to the deal to save himself from a death sentence.
Prosecutors say Thomas shot and killed Edwards in 2014 during a revenge killing at a house on To Lani Farm Road.
Prosecutors say more than 20 rounds were fired inside the home. Five bullets hit Edwards. The child's mom, Tanyika Smith, was struck eight times while trying to shield her baby from gunfire. Teniqua Clark was also in the home at the time and was hit five times.
Detectives called the crime horrific. Thomas was charged with murder along with 36-year-old Marco Watson. Watson remains in the Dekalb County jail awaiting his day in court.
Smith and other victims read letters in court about how the crime has changed their lives forever.
Thomas appeared to get emotional during the impact statements and after being sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years turned around and faced the family to apologize.
He told the family he hoped it would be the start of becoming better.
“I can’t bring anyone back and I know what I did was wrong. I felt like this was the best way to give my life for Kendarius. I just want to ask you guys to forgive me, and I’m sorry,” Thomas told the family.
“I thought saying sorry would relieve something but it didn’t because that’s not bringing my baby back. I’m happy he did say sorry and stepped up,” Smith said.
Smith says she can't see out of one eye and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Ever since May 10 I don't look at people the same. I barely go places, I’ve got PTSD. I really just want my baby,” Smith said.
Thomas won’t be eligible for parole until he served 50 years of his sentence.