LARGO — Brenda Days stood in the courtroom where her son's killers were about to be sentenced on Friday and let them know exactly what they had taken.
"My son didn't get the chance to go to his school prom or graduate from school," she said of Brennon Darvane Days, a Largo High School senior who was 18 when he was shot and killed.
Dabbing her eyes, she added, "He was the joy of my life, God knows he was. He meant everything to me. These young boys took him away."
Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Philip Federico sentenced Miterrio Banks, 18, and Cory Rocker, 19, to life in prison with no chance of parole. That was the only possible sentence for the two, who were both convicted last month of first-degree murder.
Prosecutors had said the two men lured Days into what they claimed was a drug deal but really was a robbery. He was killed in the 11800 block of 127th Avenue N, in an unincorporated area near Largo. Banks was accused as the killer.
Rocker's defense attorney, Bjorn Brunvand, filed a motion to have his client acquitted, and another for a new trial, arguing that Rocker did not fire the gun, was not even present at the time of the shooting, and that the evidence did not prove he was involved in robbing Days.
Whether Rocker was involved in the robbery is a key point. Prosecutors said he was guilty of felony murder, not because he pulled the trigger but because he committed a felony crime —- robbery — that resulted in Days' death. So if he didn't commit the robbery, then he wouldn't be guilty of the murder..
Federico noted that "the jury's already found, by a higher standard, beyond reasonable doubt, that it was a robbery." He denied Brunvand's motion. An appeal is expected.
Since the murder of her only son in January 2008, Brenda Days has started a teen group called "Brenda's Kids," in an effort to offer positive activities for Largo-area youths. The youths have gathered for basketball games, cookouts, and some have written letters to President Barack Obama.
During Friday's hearing, she said her son did not know at the time he died that he was about to become a father. Now, she said, "my grandson only knows his father by the picture that I have in my house."
Curtis Krueger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8232.