Wife of O'Reilly murder victim breaks down as his killers are sentenced

Two women charged with killing an O'Reilly Auto Parts store manager during a robbery were sentenced Friday to decades in prison.

Shawnta Anderson, 23, was sentenced to 30-60 years, plus another 2 years for felony firearm, after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the death of James Haller Jr. Eboni McEwen-Ross, 28, who also pleaded guilty to that charge, was sentenced to 21-50 years.

Police say Anderson entered an O'Reilly Auto Parts Store in the 16800 block of Schaefer in Detroit on Nov. 1, 2017, and robbed employees at gun point. That's when Haller came from the back of the store to check on the commotion, and was shot in the head.

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The now widow of James, Patricia M. Haller, took the stand to express her grief before the judge handed down the sentence. 

"I'd like to get a hold of her for one, but I know they won't let me - that's why you'rve got all these officers," she said. "But I've got to say thank you God, because this is the end." 

Speaking directly to the shooter, she had one clear message: you don't know what you did.

"I wish I could get to you to hang you in here today -- to hang you, because that's what you need. Taking an innocent life," she said. "You destroyed a family. We can never get him back again. He went to Vietnam and served and came back, and then you're going to take him? You didn't have a right." 

Anderson took an opportunity to speak.

"I just I want to say that people make mistakes and your mistakes don't define who you are as a person," she said.

She was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison to be served consecutive to the 2 years for felony firearm. McEwen-Ross took the stand next.

 Family of Haller, Christopher Pasha, said in court that it had been a long and difficult journey.

"Two people decided to make a very stupid life decision, which now will change their lives and their family's lives. I am hurt and I am mad, but I'm not going to be angry to the point of wanting to attack somebody," he said.

He said the justice system did what it was supposed to do and caught the people responsible.

"I never meant for anybody to get hurt," Anderson said in court Friday as she wiped away tears. "I know it doesn't mean much but I am sorry."

Also charged in the crime is  39-year-old Leviticus Butler, who charged with one count of accessory after the fact, a felony with a maximum penalty of five years. 

Haller was a retired General Motors employee who took on the job at O'Reilly Auto Parts to keep busy. He was also a Vietnam veteran who always tried to protect others.