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      Brown sentenced to 49 years for murder of Maraleius Birdsong

      Brown in court on Tuesday (Brandon Geier/WCIV)

      ST. GEORGE, S.C. (WCIV) -- Judge Ed Dickson sentenced Stephawn Sherrod Brown to 49 years in prison Friday after pleading guilty to the armed robbery and murder of Maraleius Birdsong, 20.

      The sentencing was the{}fourth day in court for the victim's family. Teresa Gardner, Birdsong's mother told the judge how hard her son's death had impacted the whole family.

      "Like I taught my son, there are consequences to what you do in life, good consequences and bad, just depends on what you want in your life. I miss Maraleius every day," Gardner said.

      "This was such a senseless act. So many lives were impacted for something that was so unnecessary," said his aunt Ragena Bullock.

      Gardner{}said{}she held no ill will towards Brown or his family and hoped that her son's death was a lesson to young people that they should think before they act.

      "We hope while he [Brown] sits in jail, he thinks about what he did ... and takes that time to make better choices," one of Birdsong's aunts said.

      Gardner said she knew Birdsong was looking down from heaven with pride.

      "He would be proud and tell us not to worry, go on with our lives and{}keep helping other people," she said.{}"And he'd have a big smile no matter what!"

      Brown's sentence was set at 30 years for armed robbery and 49 years for murder. The sentences are to be served concurrently.

      Gardner said the family was satisfied with the sentencing.

      "We do feel like we do have closure. They'll have time to serve out, think about what they did and possibly help others," she said.

      Brown will not be eligible for parole.

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