The convicted gunman in the murder of Hall County Sheriff's Deputy Nicolas Blane Dixon has been sentenced to a life prison term without the possibility of parole.
Hall County Superior Court Judge Jason Deal pronounced sentence on Hector Garcia-Solis, 19, just before 2:30 p.m., calling the entire case "a tragedy."
The co-conspirators in the murder also were sentenced to life prison sentences, but according to terms of the sentences for Edgar Velazquez and London Clements, both men could possibly be paroled after serving at least three decades behind bars. Both men are 19-years-old.
Because all three men were 17-years-old at the time of Dixon's murder, the death penalty was not an option for sentencing.
The sentencing hearing in Hall County Superior Court began shortly after 9 a.m. in a packed courtroom and did not conclude until almost 2:30 p.m. with emotional testimony presented on behalf of the defendants and on behalf of the fallen deputy.
Araceli Solis, the mother of Garcia-Solis, asked Deal to consider a second chance for her son. Through an interpreter, she apologized to Hector.
"If you'll allow me to tell him something, I want his forgiveness for not being able to guide him properly," Solis said.
Garcia-Solis took the stand, as well, to ask forgiveness from Dixon's family, telling them he wished he would have died during the exchange of gunfire the night of July 7, 2019.
"The pain that I've put on y'all doesn't ever leave me," Garcia-Solis said, weeping. "The pain that I've put on his mother, his father, his wife, his children...his brothers and sisters in blue...I've put such pain on them and I just can't get over what I've done to him."
The tears did not move Blane Dixon's family members. Fred Dixon, the fallen deputy's father, minced no words when he took the stand to give his impact statement.
"I do not forgive y'all - at all," Fred Dixon said. "You made a clear choice that night. It would have only took one person sitting in that car [and] not running and that would have been enough to stop my son and end the chase."
Dixon's brothers both addressed the court, telling the judge about the void the deputy's murder has left on their lives. His mother told the court about sleepless nights and anxiety-filled days since her son was killed.
In a statement offered by Dixon's widow Stephanie, she talked about her young sons. She said Blane had chosen the name for their youngest child, who was just four-months-old when he father was killed.
"He picked Colt Justice Dixon, and that's all I'm asking for, honestly," Stephanie Dixon said, also describing the grief of her oldest son Caden, who cries himself to sleep nightly over the loss of his father.
Stephanie Dixon also said her husband did not die in vain.
"Because of my husband, our community became a safer place for not only our two children that we have together but for all of our family and everyone here. Because of my husband, many lives will be changed," she said. "Blane laid his life down to better our community. I know many of you will forget most of what I'm saying - if not all of it - but due to my husband's impact and his heroism, the name Nicolas Blane Dixon will never be forgotten."
As he pronounced sentence on Garcia-Solis, Deal talked about the courage displayed by Deputy Dixon the night of his death, pausing to gather his composure when he became emotional.
Deal acknowledged the emotional testimony from Garcia-Solis and the appeals from his attorneys to recognize the remorse of their client. However, Deal pointed to the criminal history of the convicted gunman, as well as the behavior he displayed while hospitalized with gunshot wounds he suffered the night of the deputy's murder.
"When he shoots and kills a police officer and is in the hospital charged with murder, shot four times, been in a coma. He's flipping off deputies, acting like he's shooting them with his 'finger gun' and groping nurses, kicking nurses, spitting on nurses...I don't know what else, Mr. Garcia, could possibly change your behavior," Deal said. "This is a tragedy and while I consider your youth, I can't find a more compelling case in which to impose a sentence of life without parole."
Brayan Cruz, a fourth defendant in the case, who testified against his friends at trial, is awaiting sentencing.
The sentences against Garcia-Solis, Velazquez and Clements were imposed on the two-year anniversary of Nicolas Blane Dixon's death.