Man sentenced to life without parole after killing over Air Jordan's shoes

- The teen who shot and killed 22-year-old Joshua Woods for his Nike tennis shoes has now been found guilty. 

The jury deliberated for only two hours before finding Neal Bland guilty of capital murder. Just minutes later, the judge sentenced Bland to life in prison without the possibility of parole. 

After sentencing, Woods' mom Dazie Williams took the stand giving a victim impact statement and telling her son’s convicted killer he is in her prayers. 

"She was praying that at some point remorse would enter into his heart so that he could be forgiven by God, and she said she’s been looking at Mr. Bland all week long, and unfortunately she still saw no remorse in his countenance,” explains community activist Deric Muhammad.

"Remorse is often seen as a sign of guilt and we did not want to display those feelings in front of a jury given,” Bland’s Attorney Kurt Wentz explains.  As Williams spoke her words were met with Bland looking at the ceiling and around the room.  So she asked him to look at her twice and the second time he did.

"I could tell that bothered her but she told him she was praying for him.  I thought that was a very powerful statement considering he took her son’s life,” adds Muhammad.

”Now you’re about to spend the rest of your life in prison and you can’t even give the victims family an ounce of remorse to at least say I’m sorry,” says Woods’ sister Joshlyn Walls.

"Mr. Bland feels very sorry about what happened.  For anyone to imply or think this did not take a weight on him that would be very, very unfair,” Wentz adds he’s disappointed Bland was found guilty of capital murder and says his client opened fire, shooting at Woods fourteen times because the 22-year-old nearly ran him over. 

Prosecutors say that couldn’t be further from the truth.

In December 2012, on Neal Bland’s 18th birthday, Deputy District Attorney Angela Weltin says Bland and three other teens followed Woods and his friend from the mall and were planning to rob them of newly purchased Nike Air Jordan sneakers, but Woods attempted to drive away and was shot in the head.

”The motivation for this killing is incredibly sad. The idea that a pair of shoes is worth somebody’s life is very sad,” says Weltin. 

"I have to go to a gravesite to see my brother and tell him about this,” adds Walls.

Deron Taylor is expected to be tried next. Taylor was just 16 years old at the time.  However, he is also charged with capital murder and is being tried as an adult. Prosecutors say Taylor fired four times but they say it was Bland’s bullet that killed Woods.

Anthony Wade is also charged with capital murder and is awaiting trial.

A fourth accused accomplice, Kegan Arrington testified against Bland and prosecutors say his charge will be reduced to Attempted Robbery.

“There are absolutely no winners.  No winners here whatsoever,” says Muhammad.
 

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