CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A 17-year-old who killed his 13-year-old friend while shooting blindly at a moving car will spend the next decade in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to second-degree murder.
Damien Wright was accused of fatally shooting Khalil Malik Cousart in west Charlotte in 2012.
Wright did not show any emotion as Assistant District Attorney David Kelly recited the facts of the killing and, later, as Superior Court Judge Robert Bell sentenced him to prison for a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 13 years.
Wright, who spoke before being sentenced, told the victim’s family that he was remorseful.
“I loved Khalil. He was like my little brother,” he said. “I just want to say I’m sorry to all the family. I wish I could go back and change what happened, but I can’t.”
Wright, who was 16 at the time of the shooting, told investigators that Khalil’s killing was an accident, Kelly said.
Khalil was killed shortly after Wright’s grandmother asked him to walk the younger boy home on a summer night about a week before the start of school last year.
But on the way, Kelly said, Wright retrieved a 22-caliber rifle. Relatives later described the shooting as “surreal.”
Wright told investigators that earlier on the day of the shooting, a man in a white car warned him to be careful as he crossed the street.
Later that day, as Wright and Khalil walked along Tuckaseegee Road near Parkway Avenue, Wright saw the white car again, Kelly said.
He fired one shot at the car while looking, and another three while facing away, Kelly told the judge.
One bullet struck Khalil, who was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
Outside the courtroom Thursday after Wright had been led away in handcuffs, Khalil’s mother and Wright’s grandmother embraced.
“I’m glad it’s over with and that there’s some closure,” Khalil’s grandmother, Mary Jane Jackson, told the Observer. “Second-degree murder was kind of tough, but we are all praying for Damien.”