A Phoenix teenager who confessed to shooting two customers to death and wounding another when he went to rob a Peoria smoke shop has been sentenced to 42 years in prison.
"I'd like to apologize to my victims. I'm so sorry for what I've put all of you through. I can't imagine how it'd be to suffer as much as you have. What I've done is the worst thing any person can do to another person," Tyson Langley said at the sentencing Friday morning in Maricopa County Superior Court.
He pleaded guilty in January to two counts of second-degree murder, armed robbery and attempted first-degree murder in the January 2012 shooting deaths of 60-year-old Kenneth Matlock and 38-year-old Melinda Bowen, and the wounding of 51-year-old Robert Troutman.
Langley had pleaded not guilty in April 2013 to several charges, including two counts of first-degree murder.
Langley was only 15 at the time police say he went into the Euphorium Emporium and shot Matlock and Bowen in the head, and shot Troutman in the hip before stealing $300, a gun and a truck, then catching a bus to skip town. He was picked up by police two days later in Los Angeles.
Langley, who was charged as an adult will be 57 before he's out of prison.
"I don't forgive you, I hope your life in prison is hell," Bowen's sister Lathea Nevills said.
Nevills said Langley deserves the death penalty. She said her sister was their family rock.
"Why he came into our lives, it's not fair because I don't want to be in his life. And he took someone very dear to me, and for that I hate you to the highest hatred," Nevills said.
"These are consequences of acts my son committed in one day but you should know Tyson had 15 years that were in stark contrast," Langley's mother Melissa Barry said.
Langley cried and so did the victims' families as his mom talked about his spiral from a "straight-A," ROTC student, varsity wrestler, and never in trouble to experimenting with Spice, the legal synthetic drug he'd been buying from the smoke shop he robbed.
"We didn't know, like many kids don't, that spice and synthetics have been connected to psychotic breaks and acts of violence all over the world," Barry said.
The prosecutor said Spice didn't cause the deaths and that there was no evidence Langley was high at the time. Prosecutors claimed Langley was an angry teen who wanted to get back at his mother and stepfather when he found out they were having sex online for money.
The defense claims Langley did have a plan to run away from home but not to hurt anyone, and said the letter Langley left behind the morning of the murders is proof enough. He'd misspelled family members' names and the writing was unintelligible.
"I think that there is this notion that we all have that if we can understand and find a nice little neat box to put a set of events, then we can encapsulate in that box the impact it has on our lives," Judge Bruce Cohen said.
"All I can do now is express how deeply remorseful I am," Langley said.
The victims' families are still suing the smoke shop and Langley's parents for not securing the guns he used and for selling him Spice.
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