Jermaine M. Jackson was sentenced to life without parole for masterminding a robbery scheme that ended with the shooting death of a popular Bucks County musician.
Although Jackson was 19 at the time of the Dec. 28, 2011, crime and did not have a prior criminal record, Bucks County Common Pleas Judge Rea B. Boylan said: "If ever there was a case where a life sentence was appropriate it saddens me to say this is it."
Jackson, of Trenton, was convicted of second-degree murder after he and four others went to Danny DeGennaro's house in Levittown to rob him. He was not accused of shooting the 56-year-old DeGennaro, who died from a shotgun blast to the chest, but of planning the theft.
The defense maintained DeGennaro had invited Jackson to his house so he could buy drugs.
Jackson, now 21, was also sentenced to 10 to 20 years to be served concurrently for robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.
Three of DeGennaro's relatives, including daughter Giana, read moving statements about the loss of their loved one.
"We were best friends and had the most beautiful relationship any father and daughter could have," she said, noting that she wouldn't have her father to give her away when she is married this summer.
"He's never not been there for me.. . . I don't know how I'll do it," he said.
Her mother, Lisa Kingston, and DeGennaro's sister, Linda, described him as a fun-loving, consummate musician who had many friends and often played at charitable events.
More than 1,000 people attended his viewing, his sister said.
Also known as Danny Rio, the Pennsbury High School graduate had toured with Kingfish, a band that counted the former Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir among its members. According to his website, he had also performed with Bo Diddley and the late E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons.
Jackson did not show any emotion in court, though several of his relatives choked up.
Jackson declined to speak on his behalf, but his half-sister, ShaunteePerry-Stokes, tearfully stood up to say her heart went out to the DeGennaro family.
"It's so sad you lost a loved one; now I'm losing a loved one. . .," she said. "From the bottom of my heart, I'm so sorry."