By Nikki Gaskins firstname.lastname@example.org
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) After two hours of deliberation and a week-long trial, a jury found Ryan Deleston guilty of the high-profile murder of a Lowcountry teen.
Before the judge sentenced Deleston to life in prison without parole, she addressed the victim's killer directly.
"This was senseless. I have been unable to understand why you committed these acts," she stated to Deleston.
Investigators say more than a year ago, Deleston fired the fatal shots that claimed the life of 17-year-old Marley Lion, a teen just a few months away from attending Clemson University.
Before sentencing, Lion's mother, Elizabeth Paige, also addressed the court.
"I do have 100 percent confidence that all things will be made right, and Jesus is going to wipe away every tear," she said. "I have no doubt whatsoever in my mind."
As she spoke, Deleston sat stone-faced, showing little emotion.
"I had a very 'gentlemanly' son who opened the doors for people, who brightened up the room when he walked in," Paige added inside the courtroom.
Despite the loss of son, Paige was able to maintain her composure, speaking calmly.
Prosecutors say Lion's killer shot him multiple times in the parking lot of a West Ashley bar where he later died.
"It was difficult to just hear the callousness and to see just the depth of depravity that we can get to as human beings. It's just really sad," said Paige after the trial.
From the moment her son lost her life, her son's case became major headlines and a tough one for prosecutors.
"It was difficult because we didn't have that physical evidence that juries like and we like," said Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson.
While it's been more than a year since her son's murder, Page wears his memory close to her heart with a necklace that bears his name.
"There really isn't closure," said Paige. "It's like losing a limb, so you just have to figure out how to live life without your limb."
Marley's mom says her son however is in a much better place.
"We really miss him. We're happy for him that he's in heaven, he's free and all that, but it's hard for us," said Paige.
But as for whether she can forgive the man who took Marley's life, right now she says she can't.
"That's not something I'm able to do right now, but my prayer is God will get me there one day," said Paige.
As for what's next in this case, Marley's family says they are now gearing up for the sentencing of the other co-defendants in the case who've already pleaded guilty to manslaughter.