A Wilson man will spend more than three decades behind bars after officials say he fatally shot his friend and neighbor.
On Friday, 22-year-old Joshua Shavon Brockington pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Wilson County Superior Court stemming from the 2016 shooting death of 26-year-old Christopher Molson.
Wilson police responded to an apartment complex on the 1800 block of London Church Road around 12:54 a.m. on Sept. 24, 2016. Prosecutor Joel Stadiem told the court that Molson and Brockington had a verbal confrontation.
“The defendant pulled out a gun and shot him in the back,” Stadiem said.
Stadiem said Brockington stood over Molson and shot him at least six more times as he was crawling.
Superior Court Judge Milton F. Fitch Jr. later sentenced Brockington to roughly 28 to 35 years in prison.
Brockington was initially charged with first-degree murder in the case.
‘HE WAS VERY LUCID’
Before sentencing, Brockington’s lawyer, Phil Lane, told the court that the two men were good friends who would hang out and talk routinely after work. Lane said his client still doesn’t fully understand what happened. He said the “episode” shocked Brockington so badly that he doesn’t remember what he did during the moment of the shooting, but only what happened before and afterward.
Lane said Brockington has also seen a psychologist. He said Brockington is remorseful for what happened.
Lane said it had also been a challenge for Brockington’s family to understand why it happened because the violent outburst was out of character for him.
Brockington, who was in foster care as a kid, is an accomplished musician and artist, Lane told the court.
Several church and family members offered letters of support to Judge Fitch in hopes that he would consider a lower range of sentencing.
But Stadiem later argued to Fitch that what Brockington did was an intentional act.
He said after Brockington finished the shooting, he sat in the grass and called 911, but only mentioned to operators that he wasn’t armed.
“He was very lucid,” Stadiem argued to the court. He also said that after the shooting, Brockington told a friend that his life was over because of what he had just done.
“Those aren’t the acts of someone who blacked out,” he said. “The victim never had a weapon.”
Stadiem said the case might have been different and Molson would have still been alive “had he stopped after the first shot.”
He said Brockington was standing over Molson, who was laying on the ground defenseless, and shot him “almost execution-style.”
Fitch later sentenced Brockington in the higher range — 345 to 426 months.
Brockington did address Molson’s family members, who were seated with investigators during the court proceeding.
“I would like to apologize,” he said, growing emotional. “I didn’t mean to do it.”
He said he knew that they not only lost a loved one but a son.
“I can’t sleep,” he continued. “I think about it every night.”
He said there isn’t a day that goes by that he doesn’t think about his friend and everything they did together. Brockington said he hoped that the family would one day forgive him.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
Molson’s family, who declined to address the court, also became emotional when Brockington spoke.
After bailiffs took Brockington away, Molson’s family left the courtroom in tears.