ROCKVILLE, MD (WUSA) - The emotion was running high on Thursday morning at the Montgomery County Courthouse, as a judge sentenced Donald Bricker Jr. to life imprisonment, without parole.
Bricker killed his ex-girlfriend, Miriam Shade Adebayo, in a crowded Target parking lot in June of 2015.
Adebayo was just 24 years old, and was known as a smart, ambitious beacon of hope to her friends and family. Her mother, Cassandra Atkens, said that Shade was quick to come to the aide of her friends.
"Words can not express the pain and anguish," she said. "That has been left for the family."
Atkens spoke for close to 15 minutes Thursday morning, at times speaking directly to Bricker, who spent most of his time averting her gaze.
"I had two children," she said. "And today in the blink of an eye, I have one... How dare you."
Bricker was also given the opportunity to speak, and talked for close to an hour, in what many described as "rambling." Eventually the judge interrupted Bricker, asking him to stop repeating himself. Throughout the entire speach, Bricker did not apologize to the family once.
"I don't see the remorse you talk about," said Judge Joseph Dugan.
The murder took place at a Target parking lot in Germantown on June 1, 2015. He shot her with an antique black powder replica gun, which he ordered online. Bricker was a registered sex offender, and so he was not able to purchase a gun through traditional methods. State's Attorney for Montgomery County John McCarthy called this a loophole, and urged the family to help close it with new legislation.
Adebayo's sister, Tiffany Attakorah, said that she'll never forget the pain she felt that day.
"My heart hurt," she said. "I felt like I was going to fall and have a heart attack. To hear the words 'your sister is in the hospital. She's been gunned down.' That was it for me."
Amidst all this sadness, the family said they were focusing on Adebayo's forever hopeful personality. The family had T-Shirts made, and on the back was a slogan she would say often.
"Smile," it read. "Even on your darkest days."