Unless his attorney is successful on appeal, 17-year-old Jordan Wallick will spend the rest of his life in prison for gunning down aspiring attorney James Wallmuth III during a botched street robbery in York City nearly two years ago.
Wallick was 15 when he fatally shot Wallmuth in the back on July 28, 2010.
Wallmuth, 28, of West Manchester Township, worked in the York County District Attorney's Office for about four years as a case manager, but left his job to attend law school at the University of Pittsburgh. He was back in York to do an internship at a local law firm.
Shortly after 11 p.m., Wallick approached Wallmuth as the victim was talking on his cell phone and sitting on a bench in Foundry Park, near the corner of Grant
As Wallmuth was being robbed, he tried to smack the gun out of Wallick's hand and Wallick shot him, testimony revealed.
A jury in April convicted the teen of second-degree murder, robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.
The sentence: At Wallick's sentencing hearing Monday afternoon, Common Pleas Judge Michael E. Bortner handed down the only possible sentence in Pennsylvania for second-degree murder -- life.
He also sentenced Wallick to a total of 15 to 30 years in prison for the robbery and conspiracy counts, but ordered that time run concurrently with the life sentence, according to court records.
Wallmuth's mother, brother, cousin and best friend all spoke during the hearing about the kind of person Jimmy Wallmuth was, and the loss the family felt when he was murdered, according to senior deputy prosecutor Lishani Sunday.
Brother Daniel Wallmuth told the judge that had Jimmy Wallmuth not been gunned down, he would have graduated from law school 10 days ago, according to Sunday.
Mary Wallmuth made sure the judge knew what a good son Jimmy Wallmuth was, and how Wallick robbed her of that mother-son relationship, Sunday said.
Wallick mum: The defendant did not speak in court.
"I advised him not to make a statement because we're filing an appeal," defense attorney Dawn Cutaia said.
Cutaia says Wallick has "numerous issues to raise" on appeal, including a claim of cruel and unusual punishment because Wallick is still a minor and has now been given life in prison. Cutaia said there are also appeal issues from Wallick's juvenile decertification hearing, where a judge determined he should be tried as an adult.
But Sunday said she doesn't think Cutaia's appeals will be successful.
"I'm very confident ... the verdict will stand," she said, adding that former chief deputy prosecutor Karen Comery "was very thorough in everything she did. She did a great job throughout the entire trial."
Comery left the district attorney's office on May 9 for unspecified reasons.
Comery attended Wallick's sentencing hearing, sitting with Wallmuth's family members, according to Cutaia.
Emotional hearing: When handing down the sentence, Judge Bortner struggled with his emotions, according to those in the courtroom.
Sunday said Bortner told the Wallmuths he can't imagine how they must feel, and said he has two sons of his own.
"At that point he got pretty choked up," she said. "He even said it's a shame for the defendant. He was sympathetic to both sides."
Testimony from Wallick's decertification hearing revealed Wallick had a difficult life growing up, with a stripper mother who was sexually involved with a member of the criminal Bloods gang.
-- Reach Elizabeth Evans at firstname.lastname@example.org, 505-5429 or twitter.com/ydcrimetime.