ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Parents on both sides of a murder case comforted each other Wednesday as a young man was sentenced to life in prison for the fatal shooting of a University of Michigan medical student.
“It helps to know their family is on the same page as we are, that they’re feeling the hurt, the losses,” the victim’s father, Thom DeWolf, said after hugging Dejeon Franklin’s mother in court.
Franklin, 22, received the automatic sentence five weeks after he was convicted of killing Paul DeWolf.
“I’m sorry we had to come together under these conditions,” mother Kimberly Hearns said of herself and the DeWolf family.
DeWolf, 25, was attending medical school on an Air Force scholarship last year when he was shot during an armed robbery. Investigators say he struggled with Franklin over a gun, although Franklin maintained his innocence Wednesday, the Ann Arbor News reported.
“I didn’t do this,” he told a judge. “This is not something I would do. Anyone who knows me knows the type of person I am. A loving person. Fun to be with. I know what I did. It’s a loss on both ends. I’m just sorry it had to work out this way.”
Police said DeWolf’s blood was on Franklin’s shoes. Two other defendants face trial early next year.
DeWolf grew up in Schoolcraft, south of Kalamazoo, and graduated from Grand Valley State University.
Information from: The Ann Arbor News