The murderers of a Tennessee teenager who lost his life heroically shielding a girl from gunfire have been sentenced to more than 300 years in prison, a report says.
The hefty sentences were handed out by Knox County Criminal Court Judge Steven Sword who put convicts Christopher Drone Bassett, Richard Gregory Williams III, and Kipling Deshawn Colbert behind bars for the rest of their lives and beyond, the Daily Mail reported.
Bassett received a life sentence and 35 years, Williams was handed a 143-year sentence, and Colbert was hit with a 109-year term. All three convicted killers are in their twenties and will spend the rest of their lives in prison for the 2015 shooting of 15-year-old local football star Zaevion Dobson.
Dobson was killed when the three shooters unleashed a random fusillade of bullets into the participants of a Knoxville, Tennessee, house party in December of 2015. Dobson was killed attempting to protect a girl at the party who was in the line of fire. Once the shooting began, the teen jumped on top of the girl to shield her from harm. A single bullet ended his life.
At a press conference after the incident, Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch highlighted the young man’s heroism: “Zaevion Dobson, a 15-year-old Fulton High School student and football player, was struck and killed after he had jumped on top of three girls to shield them…to shield them from the shooters.”
Chief Rausch broke down in tears and could not finish his remarks.
An investigation revealed that the shooting was a random act of retaliation for another shooting that occurred early that day.
In what Knoxville police called a “senseless act of violence,” the three now-convicted killers went off in search of a target after 46-year-old Lisa Perry was struck by random gunfire as she sat inside her home.
Perry’s son, Brandon, gathered up Bassett, Williams, and Colbert and went in search of someone to shoot in retaliation. They drove until they spotted the house party and decided to begin shooting people at random. After the shooting, the four fled the scene.
Brandon Perry was later found dead in his car after having smashed into an apartment building as he tried to escape the crime scene.
“This was a planned hunting expedition,” Judge Sword said at the sentencing hearing. “There were multiple members of this hunting party looking to make a kill, and the victims they chose were completely innocent kids who were doing nothing more than standing on a porch.”
Lawyers for all three convicted killers said they would file motions for a new trial. The lawyers cited the relative youth of their clients and insisted there was not enough evidence to charge all of them with the same murder. The lawyers also disputed the state’s claims that the incident was a gang-related crime.
Even if the Dobson killing is taken off the table for Williams, he is already serving a 36-year term for the attempted murder of a man who was testifying against him in the Dobson case.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.