A Philadelphia man convicted in the killing of his ex-girlfriend's father during a home invasion in Lower Moreland Township last year was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday by a Montgomery County judge.
Calling him "evil" and "depraved," Judge Thomas P. Rogers gave Naadir Abdul-Ali, 21, an additional 10 to 20 years for conspiracy to commit murder on top of the mandatory life term for second-degree murder.
A jury convicted Abdul-Ali in July after an 11-day trial at which prosecutors described him as an abusive and manipulative boyfriend who recruited three friends to help him break into the home of his ex-girlfriend's family and kill her father, Kevin Brown, 53, after she left him.
"If his aim was to get back at my daughter for leaving him, he succeeded in destroying too many lives," Brown's wife, Cassandra Brock, said during Tuesday's sentencing hearing in Norristown.
Crying on the witness stand, Brock described the horror of hearing four men break into her home last year, watching her husband struggle to keep their bedroom door closed as she climbed out the window, and seeing him fall from the ledge outside their window and die on their front lawn after he was shot in the throat.
As he handed down his sentence, the judge said Brown was heroic for dying while protecting his wife and other family members in his home that night.
"We overuse that term, but in this particular case Mr. Brown was a hero," Rogers said.
Abdul-Ali insisted Tuesday as he sat before the judge that he did not kill Brown.
"I'm not a murderer," he said, pausing and wiping his eyes as he sat in a jail jumpsuit and handcuffs. "I never murdered nobody in my life."
Abdul-Ali was acquitted at trial of three charges that involved firearms. Prosecutors were unable to convince the jury which of the four men they accused of being in the home that night fired the gun.
Two other men, Mujahid Mathews and Abdurrahman Amin, pleaded guilty this year to third-degree murder in plea deals offered by prosecutors that spared them life sentences. A fourth codefendant, Desmond Smith, was acquitted at trial after his attorney presented an alibi defense and showed footage from SEPTA's Market-Frankford Line suggesting that Smith was riding the train at the time of the incident.
Benjamin Cooper, Abdul-Ali's attorney, acknowledged Tuesday that his client faced a mandatory life sentence, but called that requirement unfortunate considering his young age.
Deputy District Attorney Thomas McGoldrick said Abdul-Ali had raped Brown's daughter and told her hours before the murder, "If we can't be together, someone's got to go." Brown and Abdul-Ali had never met.
"This was a brutal and senseless murder of an innocent man," McGoldrick said, by a "controlling, paranoid, abusive, and vengeful man."