DALLAS - The Dallas man convicted of murdering an Iraqi immigrant will spend the next 38 years in prison.
It took a Dallas County jury about two hours to sentenced 18-year-old Nykerion Nealon for Ahmed Al-Jumaili’s death last year.
"I think this sends a message to the community about violence and gang violence and that the citizens of Dallas County and the jurors weren't going to have any of that," said prosecutor Tommy Adams.
Al-Jumaili had moved to America about a month before he was shot at the Walnut Bend Apartments in northeast Dallas. He and his new wife were outside taking pictures because it was the first time he had ever seen snow.
Prosecutors described Nealon as a “gun fanatic” who knew all about AK-47s. He fired 14 rounds at the apartment complex because he thought someone living there had shot up his girlfriend’s apartment.
Nealon testified during his punishment phase. He admitted he has disappointed everyone in his family and had a message for the victim's family.
"It hurts me to know that I can cause someone that much pain and, first, may God be with you and your family and God be with Mr. Al-Jumaili,” the 18-year-old said. “I want to say I'm sorry, but I'm not the one that pulled the trigger."
The defense, comparing the sentencing to Ethan Couch's two-year term, said it's an inconsistent ruling.
"When you think of what happened in Ethan Couch's case, and that young man was charged with deaths of four people," said defense attorney Russell Wilson, "Here this young man in an accidental, unintentional situation was charged with one death, and he gets 38 years. We're in shock and it challenges your confidence in the criminal justice system."
The victim’s family said justice has already been served with a quick guilty verdict of murder.
"Nothing can ever bring back Ahmed, no punishment, however slight or however large can bring him back," said Alia Salem, a member of the Council on American Islamic Relations. "But they do feel that justice has been rendered today."