As more than a dozen family members looked on, Christopher Slaughter was found guilty in the October 2009 murder of 19-year-old Aikeem Hall in the parking lot of the Atlanta Street Apartments public housing complex in Gainesville.
After reading the verdict, Northeastern Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Kathlene Gosselin sentenced the 20-year-old to life in prison.
The verdict was announced about two hours after the jury began deliberations. Slaughter was found guilty of all counts: felony murder, murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
Prosecutors said they were content with the verdict and sentencing but were despondent that Slaughter will never experience an adult life.
"This situation is senseless," Chief Assistant District Attorney Lindsay Burton said. "It's sad that an 18-year-old is getting a life imprisonment sentence."
"It wasn't self-defense. It was a just verdict. What he did was commit murder," she added.
The Oct. 5 murder occurred at the government housing complex in front of several young children.
Prosecutors described the murder in which Slaughter and another man were arguing with Hall when Slaughter pulled a .32 caliber pistol, fired a fatal shot into the chest of his former friend, shot him again in the leg and then calmly disposed of the gun in a trash bin.
Because of the numerous witnesses, the defense didn't deny the shooting occurred, but argued it was a crime of passion and urged the court to consider a reduced charge of voluntary manslaughter.
"We believe it was done in the heat of passion, which is voluntary manslaughter. (Hall) had been bullying him," Public Defender Travis A. Williams said.
Williams said he respects the jury's verdict, but he will pursue an appeal.
After Slaughter was arrested at his father's Franklin County home the morning following the shooting, the man confessed to the shooting during an interview with a Gainesville Police investigator.
Investigator Bryan Majors testified that Slaughter said he killed his friend because Hall had been stealing money from him and he feared for his life.
But prosecutors argued that was the defense's only evidence because testimony disputed the bullying claim.
"All of the questions about bullying or threats were posed to the defendant's child's mother and she said that she had never heard any of that," Burton said.
A mutual friend also testified he never heard any harassment directed toward Slaughter.
A 9-year-old, who was 7 at the time of the murder, also served as a key witness during testimony. The murder occurred about 30 feet from a small playground where at least four children were playing.
The 9-year-old testified he witnessed Slaughter dispose of the gun in the trash bin but said he didn't see the actual shooting.
There were a total of four shots fired and only two hit Hall. Prosecutors said they are relieved the case didn't involve multiple murders.
"It's very lucky that we're only here for one murder," Burton said.
As she was leaving the courtroom, Hall's mother was clearly still shaken by her son's murder, but she said Thursday's verdict brought justice.
"I'm just satisfied with the verdict," Ferdia Hall said.
At the time of the murder, Hall's girlfriend was pregnant. She's now raising their daughter as a single mother, Burton said.
"He was young. He never got to meet his baby girl," she said.
About a dozen of Slaughter's family and friends looked distraught after hearing the verdict and many declined to comment.
"I can't even think about it right now," said Jeffrey Malone, Slaughter's stepfather.
Hall County Sheriff's deputies immediately placed handcuffs on Slaughter following the reading of the verdict and he was transported to the Hall County Jail.