CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Finally, Clif and Josee Shull could begin to talk about the pain that has haunted them for more than a year.
“It's been a rough 15 months,” Clif Shull said as he stood in front the Mecklenburg County Courthouse less than an hour after a young man pleaded guilty to robbing and killing their son, Michael, who was born deaf, in December 2012.
Davonta Turner pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, armed robbery and conspiracy and was sentenced to at least 28 years in prison as part of a plea arrangement with prosecutors.
Prosecutors say Shull, 21, had left work and gone to see his girlfriend at her home in north Charlotte in December 2012, when Turner and two young women planned to rob him.
Aveance Bryant and Ashley Owens had already pleaded guilty to conspiracy and robbery and were sentenced to four and five years respectively for their part in the crime.
“This was completely set up. He was ambushed, he was murdered, for a couple hundred dollars,” Clif Shull said after the hearing on Thursday.
Clif Shull and his wife said the sentences were not enough for the crime that had clearly been premeditated.
“They have left a major hole in our family. The hurt goes so deep,” Clif Shull said.
The Shulls said they had sacrificed everything to give Michael a chance in life, moving from Tennessee so he could attend the North Carolina School for the Deaf in Morganton. They said he had just graduated and was working for a machine shop in Morganton when he was murdered.
“We have to move on. I'm glad this portion of it is over. They're going to be behind bars not nearly long enough,” Clif Shull said just before the family left the courthouse for the final time.
You can donate to the "Memorial Fund for Michael Shull." The fund has been set up for the future education for his nieces and nephews.
Make checks out to the "Memorial Fund for Michael Shull," and send to the Peoples Bank, 3310 Springs Road NE, Hickory, NC 28601.