A Nigerian businessman was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole during hearing in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom on Monday, June 5, 2017.
It is understood that the accused, Ezeoma Chigozie Obioha, who was convicted last year of first-degree murder, sat showing no emotion, LATimes reports.
The 32-year-old was sentenced for the murder of a woman, Carrie Jean Melvin, who was fired in the face with a shotgun as she walked into a Thai restaurant in Hollywood with her boyfriend in 2015.
Her father, Bernard Melvin stood in the courtroom moments before the man convicted of his daughter’s murder was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Telling his wife and relatives that his 30-year-old daughter was dead was the “hardest thing” he has ever done, Melvin said.
“I feel as though I have lost a limb,” he said, his voice cracking. Since then, he said, he has held his wife as she cries herself to sleep, and shed tears with Carrie’s boyfriend.
“I have tried to answer my family’s questions, but how do you explain a completely senseless act? We cry every day,” said her father.
“I had to hear and see things in the trial that no parent should have to hear.”
The victim’s older brother, Ryan, said Obioha’s insistence that he is innocent compounded the family’s grief. He said he experiences recurring nightmares about his sister’s murder.
In December 2016, after the conviction, Obioha’s attorney, Jamon Hicks, told reporters that he was “disappointed obviously” with the verdict and said that he believed the defense had done a “good job of showing that there was reasonable doubt in the case.”.
“This is a (case of) he wasn’t the one and that someone else did this, someone murdered her in a terrible fashion, but they got the wrong guy … I’ll always think that they have the wrong person. Our theme was that this was a rush to judgment,” the defense lawyer said.
Prosecutors alleged that Obioha acted after Melvin spurned his romantic interest in her and then filed a complaint with state officials alleging that he owed her more than $1,000 for work she had done marketing his clothing line on social media.
The morning after the killing, a boy playing on the beach in Malibu found Obioha’s Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun under a rock.
Lying nearby was an unusual shotgun shell, identical to an expended shell found at the crime scene: a white Rio Royal Grand 12-gauge, 00 buck shell with the head stamp “globalshot.com,” prosecutors said.