Teen sentenced to life in slaying of Palo Verde High School student

Senseless. Foolish. Needless.

All of those words have been used to describe the events of Feb. 15, 2008, the day freshman Christopher Privett was gunned down on his way home from Palo Verde High School by Gerald Davison, then 16.

And for what?

Christopher's father, Michael Privett, is still trying to figure that part out.

"Society has gotten to a crazy place where human life is not valued real high in this country anymore," said Privett Monday, after his son's killer was sentenced in District Court.

"Chris' death and other deaths point to that fact. That is an unfortunate state of where we are at today."

Authorities say Davison opened fire from a car after he had exchanged rival gang signs with students walking with Christopher Privett. The 15-year-old Palo Verde student was described as an innocent bystander."

Davison, who is just a few days shy of turning 18 on Halloween, was sentenced to life in prison for the murder."

According to the sentence agreed to by prosecutors and defense attorneys, Davison could be eligible for parole in about 28 years. Davison pleaded guilty in July to first-degree murder with a deadly weapon and attempted murder."

Davison appeared in court looking much older than he did in photos circulated after the 2008 drive-by shooting. He has since spent 250 days in jail."

Shackled and wearing navy blue prison garb, Davison apologized to his victim's family."

"To the Privett family, I don't know how to apologize for taking your son's life away. Sorry ain't gonna cut it. But all I can tell y'all is sorry," Davison said as he shrugged.

Davison's sentencing closes the tragic case that shocked many in Las Vegas.

Ezekiel Williams, who was driving the car, was sentenced in August to 20 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter with a deadly weapon and accessory to murder for his role in the slaying. Williams could be eligible for parole in eight years.

During Monday's emotional hearing, the victim's mother, Barbara Privett, spoke of her loss.

"I keep hoping someday Chris will walk through the front door and say 'Hi Mom,'" she said. "I know that's not going to happen. He's dead." Barbara Privett then described how she keeps her son's ashes beside her bed. "That's all I have left of Chris. Along with the many good memories.

"It's so hard to understand how Gerald Davison thought it was OK to aim a gun at four teenagers. That he had such a high disregard for human life. That this act of cruelty would be acceptable," the distraught mother said.

Speaking directly to Davison, she said, "I hope the horrible memories of what you did to Chris, to his family, to his friends, to the Las Vegas community, stay with you forever."

Afterward, Michael Privett said he still hoped something good would come of his son's death.

But "I still see lots and lots of things in your paper every day. My disappointment of continued violence in the city and country is still there."

Michael Privett admits he doesn't have the answers to ending youth violence, but he hopes the community will come together and stand against the type of behavior that brought about the death of his son. "I just wish that perhaps with the sentencing there would be a renewed sense of trying to make things better."

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039.