A jury on Tuesday spared the life of a 22-year-old convicted murderer.
The jury had convicted Terrence Bowser of first-degree murder with use of a deadly weapon last week for his role in a 2005 fatal drive-by shooting.
Bowser, who was eligible for the death penalty, was sentenced to 40 years to life in prison.
“I’m good with that,” said the victim’s wife, Dawn Allen-McCoy.
The victim, John A. McCoy, a 60-year-old father on his way home from work, was gunned down in his car.
Bowser did not pull the trigger, but prosecutors argued that he went out with his friend, Jamar Green, on that night in January 2005 with the intention to shoot someone.
McCoy was driving home from his shift at the Rainbow Club & Casino when Bowser and Green drove up alongside McCoy near Lone Mountain Road and Decatur Boulevard.
Green fired several rounds, striking McCoy and causing him to crash his vehicle into a wall.
McCoy died at University Medical Center. Allen-McCoy was with him at the time but never got to speak to her husband because he was unconscious, she said.
“I don’t ever want them to get out of jail, either one of them. But I don’t want to put my family through this again, either,” she said.
The couple was raising their 12-year-old daughter, a straight “A” student, and John McCoy had two other children from a previous relationship, his wife said.
Bowser was close to accepting a plea deal from prosecutors in July that would have required him to serve 28 years to life in prison.
But Bowser balked at the last minute, telling District Judge Lee Gates that he never intended to shoot anyone the night of the murder.
“He basically took that chance, and it didn’t pay off for him,” said his defense attorney, Norm Reed.
The defense argued that Bowser and Green were going to shoot at a car, not a person. During the penalty phase, Bowser’s lawyers detailed his background. His father, a drug user, was murdered when Bowser was 8.
“Terrence still looked up to him at an early age,” Reed said Tuesday.
Bowser was 19 at the time of the crime. In deciding not to impose a death penalty, the jury cited as mitigating factors Bowser’s age and developmental immaturity, his father’s death, his remorse for McCoy’s death and the fact he was raised by a single parent in a crime-ridden neighborhood.
Green, 22, pleaded guilty in May to first-degree murder and received a sentence of 34 years to life in prison.
Giving the death penalty to Bowser when the actual triggerman received a lighter sentence than any penalty option available to Bowser seemed unfair, said juror Earnest Hearsley, 49.
“To me and the rest of the jury, the case (for Bowser’s punishment) was made once the prosecutors made a deal with Jamar Green,” he said.