A drug deal turned robbery gone bad cost Stephen C. Sanders his life.
It also cost Darryl D. Jones Jr. his freedom, because in the eyes of a judge, there was more than one life lost that day.
State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia sentenced Jones to a prison term of 25 years to life Tuesday for a murder he believes affected many others.
“What you need to realize," Buscaglia told Jones, “is that there’s a loss of life here but it’s not just one loss of life."
Jones was trying to steal marijuana from Sanders, 26, when the two men met on Marigold Street the night of Dec. 5, 2011.
He ended up shooting Sanders.
Jones’ first trial ended in a mistrial but a second trial resulted in a guilty verdict on two counts of second-degree murder, first-degree attempted robbery and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
Beatrice Sanders, the victim’s mother, said very little about Jones on Tuesday, choosing instead to read three brief bible passages.
“As a Christian, let me say this," Sanders said, “May God have mercy on that man’s soul."
Noticeably absent from the courtroom was John F. Daniels, Sanders’ cousin and the man who was with him that night and later testified at the trial.
Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable said Daniels could not attend the sentencing but wanted Buscaglia to know that he wanted Jones to get the longest possible sentence.
“He lost his best friend,” said Curtin Gable.
During the trial, Daniels testified that it was Jones who, during the drug deal, walked up to their SUV, pointed a black Glock handgun through the rear driver side window and said, “You know what time it is.”
Daniels, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, said he grabbed the gun and proceeded to struggle with Jones.
“I’ll never forget his eyes, forever,” Daniels told the jury.
He said he yelled at Sanders to drive off and then heard a gun fire and Sanders say, “Oh, my God!”
Defense lawyer Jeremy D. Schwartz said Jones is appealing his conviction and therefore could not say anything at his sentencing.