Shawn Cook, a reputed Bloods gang member, was sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison for his role in the 2006 murder of one man and the attempted killing of two others.
The 26-year-old Camden man pleaded guilty in April to aggravated manslaughter in the fatal shooting of LaVonne Adkins, aggravated assault of Adkins' brother, Eric, and attempted murder of Maurice Brown.
Tarell Ambrose, also of Camden, entered a guilty plea along with Cook for directing two of the shootings from his jail cell, and was sentenced last week to 22 years in prison.
Six other defendants have already pleaded guilty, and a seventh, Joseph Townsend, is awaiting trial. Cook has acknowledged pulling the trigger in the attacks in Willingboro and Camden.
Shelly Scott, mother of LaVonne and Eric, called Cook a sociopath and an evil monster in the Burlington County courtroom, saying he had shown no signs of remorse or expressed sympathy for her family.
But defense attorney Jill Cohen next relayed an apology from Cook to the Adkins family, saying he wanted them to understand what he was caught up in and "the environment in which he had been placed."
Cook's fiancee and sister wailed as Superior Court Judge John Almeida issued the sentence. Shata Cook, his sister, and mother Charlene Shuler clutched each other as they sobbed.
The judge told Cook he was intelligent and charismatic, saying, "I don't get it." He said Cook had a chance to influence people in prison, and could help others not turn into "Shawn Cooks or Tarell Ambroses, for that matter."
Barely audible above his supporters' cries, Cook said he was sorry.
"Even though what happened, happened, he's still a good man and everybody makes mistakes...he's just pleaded guilty so everybody gets off his back," said Cook's fiancee, who only gave her name as Toya, in an interview before the sentencing.
She added that she feels sorry for the family's loss, but "I'm losing somebody too."
"I love you! Call me!" Toya yelled as Cook was led away.
She and Cook's supporters bounded out of the courtroom, one of them cursing loudly as the group pushed through the double doors.