(FOX 2) - A 19-year-old man was sentenced Thursday to prison for the murder of off-duty Detroit firefighter Jack Wiley II.
Ardonez Carter was sentenced to 33 to 60 years after pleading guilty to second-degree murder and two years for felony firearm in Wiley's death at his home on the city's west side last August. Jack was killed 10 days before his 30th birthday.
Prosecutors say at 18 years old, Carter and Shomari Walker, also 18 at the time, robbed, tortured and killed Wiley, then torched what they stole to hide the evidence. Both men were originally charged with felony murder, first-degree premeditated murder, armed robbery, tampering with evidence, fourth-degree arson and felony firearm. Walker is being tried separately.
Just before Carter learned his sentence, it was an emotional scene in court as friends, family and colleagues took the opportunity to speak.
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Jack's mother, Madona Wiley, said this is the worst pain she's ever felt in her life.
"When they took my son's life, they took a part of my life. My heart has been broken every single day. There's not a day that goes by that I don't have tears in my eyes. I try to smile for the family. I try to be here for the kids because they're having such a hard time," she said.
Family and friends say Wiley had been trying to help Carter.
"Why would you kill somebody that helped you?" Jordyn Williams said. "We grew up so close and he was always a big brother to me. Our family hasn't been the same since he's been gone because nobody is truly happy. Nobody can truly heal from this. We can't live our lives the same. ... How do you live, knowing that you did that to somebody that helped you? He wanted the best for you."
Detroit firefighter Alfonzo May, alongside several other firefighters, spoke of meeting Wiley in the academy.
"Jack Wiley loved his other 97 brothers and sisters," said Detroit firefighter Alfonzo May. "I said it before, to mom and pops Wiley, you had Jack, but you got 97 other sons and daughters. True to his form, after the academy, throughout our time on this job, in our career ma'am, true to his form he continued to help no matter what. All you had to do was call. Then he took in this animal, that he helped. He tried to bring this animal up to where he was -- to be what he was, somewhat of what he was."
Wayne Circuit Court Judge Qiana Lillard said it's time for the family to find ways to honor the way that Jack lived his life.
"That basketball team still needs a coach. Those kids still need somebody to stop by their class and check on them," she said. "So even though Jack's not here to do it, it doesn't mean that you all can't pick up the mantle. Maybe you need to start a community center in that neighborhood in his honor, and give young people a safe place to go so that there won't be another Ardonez Carter."