LARGO — As soon as the word "guilty" was said late Thursday evening, Gaylord Shaw turned to Terria Moore and said, "I'm sorry."
"That's what's did it for me," said Moore, the mother of Shaw's victim. "It soothed my heart, and it helped my soul.
"He ignored the court, stood up and looked me in my eyes and said he was sorry. That was the best thing he could have done, and I forgive him."
Because of the apology, Moore asked Judge Joseph A. Bulone not to sentence Shaw, 21, to life in prison for the October 2007 murder of her son Michael Scott, 23. Moore's son Antonio Scott, 26, was also wounded in the shooting and has a lifelong limp. He has pain if he sits or walks too long.
After the verdict late Thursday, Bulone sentenced Shaw to 45 years in prison, with 25 of those years being mandatory.
"That's why the judge had mercy," Moore said. "He (Bulone) brought justice to me, and he had mercy on Shaw. I couldn't find it in my heart to ask for life for him."
After listening to two days of testimony, a jury of four women and two men took about five hours to determine that Shaw had pumped bullets into a car being driven by Michael Scott on Oct. 8, 2007. The verdict was reached about 10:15 p.m. Thursday.
Shaw is the second person convicted in the death of Michael Scott and the shooting of his brother Antonio.
In August, Allan Burney was convicted of second-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder in the second degree, and shooting at, within or into a vehicle. He was sentenced to life in prison.
"Mr. Burney appeared to be a lot more of a leader; Shaw seemed more like a follower," Bulone said about the difference in the sentencing. Bulone also said that Moore's comments helped.
"I did take into consideration the statements of the mother," he said.
Burney, 21, is the co-creator of the DVD series dubbed Da Hood Gone Wild, which is a montage of street brawls, drug deals, naked women and cars cruising in the North Greenwood neighborhood of Clearwater. The DVD shows drug dealers, users and police mixing it up and portrays the city of Clearwater in an unflattering light.
During Shaw's two-day trial, his attorneys Cynthia Lakeman and M. Jennifer Arena argued that there wasn't a credible witness who saw their client shooting a gun that day, therefore, Shaw should be found not guilty.
But prosecutors David Tobiassen and Christopher LaBruzzo convinced the jury that on Oct. 8, 2007, about 12:45 p.m., Burney, with a MAC-11 and Shaw, with a .357-caliber revolver, fired their weapons into a car being driven by Michael Scott. Antonio was a passenger in the back seat.
As for the credibility of the state's witness, Marie Marry, who testified to seeing Shaw shooting into the vehicle, Tobiassen said she did not intend to be a witness of a murder.
"They brought the war to her doorstep," Tobiassen said.
Demorris A. Lee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4174.