AKRON, Ohio — Adarus Black, the man convicted of killing 18-year-old Na’Kia Crawford in Akron more than two years ago, was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday.
A jury found Black guilty of multiple charges (including murder) connected to the case last month, their decision coming less than a week after his trial began. Summit County Common Pleas Judge Kelly McLaughlin says he will be eligible for parole after 18 years behind bars.
Wednesday's sentencing was an emotional one, with multiple family and friends remembering Na'Kia and admonishing the actions of Black. Two family members were ejected from the courtroom following outbursts.
"My daughter, I don't know what her life is going to be like because you took that away," Crawford's mother Lisette said before the court. "She didn't even get to live her life two weeks after high school, go to college, [see] what college was like or nothing. That's wrong. You don't care. You can't even look me in the face."
Authorities say Crawford was driving home with her grandmother on June 14, 2020, after visiting a bank when she was shot while sitting in her vehicle near West North and North Howard streets. She later died at Akron City Hospital, with police later calling her death a case of "mistaken identity."
Akron native LeBron James brought national attention to the case, calling for justice on social media in the days after the incident. "Somebody know something for sure," he posted with the hashtag "#JUSTICE4Nakia.”
Black was captured in Atlanta earlier this year on Feb. 8 after a 20-month manhunt in connection with the shooting. He was 17 years old at the time of the crime, but was eventually charged and tried as an adult.
As he sat for sentencing, numerous family members spoke of Na'Kia to say she was kind, a loving person.
"I'm just glad the wait is over," sister Nicolette said. "My sister's soul can finally rest peacefully, as well as me and my family can find some peace knowing her murderer is facing the consequences deserved. Although justice will be served today, nothing will amount up to her life and the love she gave during her life."
Still, they had hoped Black would get life without parole. The convicted murder chose not to address the court today and has said he will appeal.
"I hope they put posters in his cage of my granddaughter so every time he opens his eyes, all he sees her," Crawford's grandmother Saria, the same one in the car when she was shot, told reporters.
Two other suspects had faced charges of obstructing justice in connection with the case, but those were later dismissed.
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