BROOKSVILLE — In a last-ditch effort to keep his brother from spending the rest of his life in prison, William Glover took the stand and confessed one more time.
Glover testified Thursday that it was him, not his 21-year-old brother, Derius, who burst into a Cinco de Mayo house party in Spring Hill last year and beat a man with a bat.
"My brother did not do this," William Glover said. "I'm the one who should be sitting there, not him. They say justice is served, but how is it served when he's convicted of something he didn't do?"
But it was too late. Last month, a jury convicted Derius Glover of Brooksville of the crime, burglary with battery. Because Glover was already a felon and committed the first-degree felony within three years of his release from prison, state law required Circuit Judge Daniel B. Merritt Jr. to sentence him to life in prison.
"There's only one person that has put himself in this place today, and that is Derius Lajake Glover," Merritt said.
During a two-day trial last month, jurors heard conflicting testimony about what happened at the party on Chamber Court. Witnesses said William Glover got beat up during a fight and left. Then, according to testimony, Derius came to the house armed with a bat, demanded to know who jumped his brother, then beat Brian Hudson.
Several witnesses testified that William Glover never came back to the party. Other witnesses said William Glover was the one who beat Hudson, who has since recovered from his injuries.
Assistant State Attorney Rob Lewis reminded William Glover while he was on the stand Thursday that prosecutors had offered to drop the charges against his brother if William pleaded guilty to the crime and agreed to a sentence of 20 years in prison. He rejected that deal.
Derius Glover also rejected a plea offer of 20 years in prison.
Tearful family members took the stand Thursday and claimed the system was punishing the wrong man. Glover wiped a few tears from his own eyes during the testimony.
"It's not fair he's going to have his life taken away for something he didn't do," said Yoland Lopes, Derius Glover's girlfriend and the mother of his 7-month-old twins.
Derius Glover was released from prison in August 2011 after serving three years for armed robbery and attempted robbery. In December of that year, he was charged with two counts of felony battery after he got into a fight with two other men. He was out on bail for those charges when he was arrested last May.