Cotton sentenced for deadly home invasion

By: NewsCenter16 Staff Email
By: NewsCenter16 Staff Email

After more than a year, all five men involved in a deadly South Bend home invasion have been sentenced.

The last of the five, Gemari Cotton, 18, went before Judge Hurley today.

About a month ago, he pleaded guilty to felony murder for his role in the deadly home invasion in the 1000 block of North Michigan St. back in December, 2012.

Newscenter16 was the only station in the courtroom where several people spoke on Cotton's behalf, saying he had potential and could be rehabilitated.

Cotton said he was sorry for what happened that night and that people got hurt.

After much consideration, Judge Hurley sentenced Cotton to the maximum sentence of 65 years for felony murder.

However, even with some sort of closure, the victim's family says they are feeling the effects of that night, everyday.

Beth Beaty, the victim’s daughter, says, “Every little noise at night it puts a panic in you it puts fear in you. I think it was Lee Griffin who said, ‘you know, time is going to heal all wounds,' but it’s been a year and it isn't any better, I don't feel any better, I miss my mother just as much as I ever did."

She adds, “Those people can still have the people they love. They can still have a relationship with them any time they choose. They took all of that from us. Everyone wants to act like they didn't do anything but they did a hell of a lot.”

Lee Griffin, 19, and Walter Neely, 48, were already sentenced to 115 years in prison.

Nathaniel Coley, 19, was sentenced to 65 years.

Khawana Lamar, 22, is serving a 65 year sentence.


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