Savannah man gets life in prison for 'execution-style killing'

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Harry Roosevelt Newkirk on Thursday was sentenced to life plus five years in prison for the 2005 "execution-style killing" of a Garden City convenience store owner.

Newkirk  Morris News Service
Morris News Service

The sentence came shortly after a Chatham County Superior Court jury convicted Newkirk, 35, on charges of felony murder, armed robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

The victim, Vipin Patel, 65, was shot once and slain Dec. 23, 2005, during a robbery of his Kwik Way Food Mart on U.S. 80.

Chatham County Superior Court Chief Judge Perry Brannen Jr. sentenced Newkirk to life in prison for the murder and tacked on an additional five years for possession of a firearm during commission of a crime.

The armed robbery charge merged with the murder count for purposes of sentencing.

Brannen refused a defense request that a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon be sent to the jury.

He ruled there was no evidence to support the charge.

Brannen also rejected defense efforts to include lesser charges of voluntary manslaughter and theft by taking to the jury.

Assistant District Attorney Maria Waters introduced five prior felony convictions for Newkirk during the sentencing hearing.

"He'll never probably be released from prison in his lifetime," defense attorney Michael Schiavone told Brannen during this brief sentencing hearing.

Sentences were prescribed by Georgia law, a fact Brannen noted during sentencing.

During closing arguments Thursday, Waters told the jury Newkirk planned the robbery and fled carrying the store's cash register.

"Newkirk was one of the ringleaders," she said. "He wanted money."

The prosecutor told jurors Newkirk directed his cohorts to shoot Patel.

But, Schiavone told jurors his client was being unfairly treated by the prosecutors.

"My client didn't get the choice to be there," Schiavone said, "My client is the non-shooter. He is not the guy in this case. He is not Hector Gibson."

Gibson has been convicted as the triggerman in the case.

The defense argued prosecutors made deals with three other non-shooters for voluntary manslaughter but is treating Newkirk differently.

"Harry Newkirk should not pay a greater price than the other non-shooters," Shivavone said.

It took the 10 women and two men less than two hours to return the convictions.

Newkirk stood emotionless as the verdicts were read in open court.

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emanuelgeech 08/14/09 - 08:44 am
This parasite to society

This parasite to society should not even be referred to as a man. I knew Vipin Patel, I stopped in his store several times per week, he was a very nice hard working person. The trash that robbed and murdered him will never be productive working members of society and should get the death penalty instead, that is the only thing that will teach people of this caliber that robbing and killing is wrong, they think it is an honor to be in prison in saggy pants.

Native007 08/14/09 - 08:57 am
That's terrible. Just take

That's terrible. Just take the money and leave, why do you have to kill someone?

g-dog express
g-dog express 08/14/09 - 09:44 am
Another sad thing is that

Another sad thing is that life does not mean life. He could be out to kill again too soon.

bertsmans 08/14/09 - 09:52 am
"Never probably get out of

"Never probably get out of prison"? What does that mean?

stillamazed 08/14/09 - 11:08 am
He should never be released

He should never be released period, not probably never.......hopefully the family of Mr. Patel can now get some closure.

youallkillme 08/14/09 - 02:43 pm
He needs the chair. Economy

He needs the chair. Economy is bad and we're going to have to pay to house his sorry behind for "life". He'll be out in 15 years or so probably and comitting more crime and we'll go through the same process. Just sit him in the chair and get it over with.

Fiat_Lux 08/14/09 - 03:35 pm
I think they used this guy's

I think they used this guy's face in the new Star Trek movie's bar scene! And way to go, Perry, mon vieux, for not letting the defense throw lesser charges in as alternatives for sentencing. This guy needs to rot completely before he goes to his eternal reward.

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