Brooke Wendel's family and friends wore pink T-shirts with the words “Justice for Brooke.” Several people held up framed photos of the deceased young woman.
Wendel's mother, Amy Gilliam, was one of four to speak during Friday's sentencing for her daughter's killer, Jamesley Paul. Her daughter was a “hard worker in everything she did, a free spirit and an old soul.” She was a top student at Northrup High School.
Allen Superior Court Judge Fran Gull sentenced Paul to 146 years in prison.
Gilliam cursed Paul and said she hoped his actions would “haunt him until the end of time,” and said she'd be keeping tabs on him.
In June, a jury found Paul guilty of murder, felony murder and robbery. He was convicted of murder in the death of Mon Ong, 21, and found not guilty in the death of Brooke Wendel, 24, but guilty on two counts of felony murder and one count each of robbery and using a firearm in the commission of a crime.
Jamesley was one of three young men who swarmed the home of Meng Kem at 2405 Barnhart Drive just after midnight Feb. 26, 2020.
Wendel, 23, and Mon Ong, 21, both died from gunshot wounds. Kem, 28, survived a shot to the neck that went through his arm and hand that has made it difficult to walk and use his left hand, Allen County Deputy Prosecutor Tom Chaille said.
Mon Sorn, Ong's sister, told Paul he was “a shame and disgrace to his family.
“You chose $1,500 over his life, your life and your son's life,” she said. “I hope you find God.”
A bailiff walked over with a box of tissues as she sobbed and said her brother wouldn't be there for so many occasions – birthdays, anniversaries, “and my wedding, thank you.
“You have changed my family and my life forever,” she said, calling him “selfish and cruel.”
Sorn noted Paul's mother got him out of Haiti to America to have a better life, and Paul's aunt, Irnine Paul, said Paul had thrived after he arrived, learning English at a record pace and graduating from through Northrop High School and what was then called Anthis Career Center.
Childhood friend Taylor Marlow represented many of Wendel's friends in court. With so much loss in the friendship circle, she told Judge Gull that she “didn't think he should achieve any of the goals in his life.”
His attorney, Nicholas Adams, told the court Paul suffered a traumatic childhood in Haiti, surviving the earthquake before he moved here as an adolescent.
Adams asked for leniency and vocational training, but Deputy Prosecutor Tom Chaille called the request “too speculative.”
Chaille also discounted Paul's difficult childhood saying there were plenty of people in court and out who had difficult childhoods who weren't convicted murderers.
Paul, who occasionally answered questions in French and had everything translated by a virtual translator, will appeal the decision, his attorney said.