CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – There is some closure for the family of the 13-year-old Chesterfield boy killed by a stray bullet last April. Wednesday, Devin Hawkins' killer, William Walker pled guilty to three felony charges. He'll spend the next thirteen years in prison.
Walker will be 35 by the time he gets out. His is just one of the many lives forever changed by this case. The family of the victim, Devin Hawkins, told NBC12 they saw that change as Walker looked them in the eyes and apologized inside the courtroom.
The 22-year-old made it clear in court Wednesday he's sorry for his actions, which led to the death of Devin Hawkins. He turned around and spoke directly to the 13-year-old's family, whose sniffles and sobs could be heard.
He explained he didn't mean for this to happen and said "no matter what you think of me, I'm going to continue to pray for you."
"The blessing that he gave us was very, very helpful to the family," Hawkins' father Octavius said after leaving court. "The family took it as a very good thing for him. I commend him on that because some people just don't do that."
Walker agreed to plead guilty to three charges including voluntary manslaughter, an associated gun charge and aggravated malicious wounding for the shooting of LaVon Holmes, who was the intended target. He admitted he fired a pistol at Holmes and a stray bullet from that gun hit Hawkins in the back as he ran for the shelter of his home.
"It's not really been the same but you gotta keep your head high and let God take his place," Hawkins' brother Dravode McDade said.
The prosecutor explained this has been one of the most difficult cases he's covered. The judge noted it is the result of a culture where young people resort to guns to settle disagreements, which is something friends and family on both sides of this ordeal hope will change.
"It's just a sad situation for everybody," one of Walker's friends said as he left the courts building.
"A lot of people got stronger from this," Octavius Hawkins believes. "I hope it brings everybody that's keeping up with this, I hope it brings them to a good settlement in their minds to say 'hey just sit one time and think before you do anything.'"
The judge suspended the forty years for the aggravated malicious wounding charge. The prosecutor said it would have been difficult to move forward with it because LaVon Holmes was not cooperating.