Jurors found Brandon White guilty on all counts Wednesday for his role in a drive-by shooting that killed a 26-year-old man in 2010.
He was immediately given the mandatory sentence of life in prison.
Superior Court Judge James Blanchard gave White the chance of parole, along with a consecutive sentence of five years in prison for a weapons charge.
Three days of testimony centered on the night Damion Collier was shot while standing outside his home on Second Avenue. Witnesses said shots were fired from the passenger side of a burgundy Chevrolet Impala that investigators later determined belonged to White.
White admitted to driving the car, but in a recorded statement to investigators said he didn’t know the shooter, a passenger in his car, was armed. Witnesses testified that the car circled the block, then slowed to a crawl just before shots were fired.
White was charged with felony and malice murder, along with possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime because, under Georgia law, he was “party to a crime.”
“Without that driver, there’s no shooting,” Assistant District Attorney Adam King said in closing arguments. “There’s no means of getting there or getting away.”
White’s attorney, Dacara Brown, urged the jury to see through the “smoke and mirrors” and “use common sense.”
She emphasized that her client didn’t know that the shooter was armed. Brown said it set a “dangerous standard” if everyone is charged with a crime for what’s in the pocket of the passengers in his car.
Brown reminded the jury that White was 20 years old at the time of the shooting and has been sitting in jail since his arrest.
At his age, “we don’t always make wise decisions, but that does not equate to murder,” Brown said.