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Families React After Martin Receives Life Sentence

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Jordan Martin will spend the rest of his life in prison for his role in a murder.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A Springfield man will spend the rest of his life in prison for his role in a murder.

On Thursday, a judge sentenced Jordan Martin to life in prison for being an accomplice in the death of 17-year-old Kody Ray, back in March of 2010.

Kody Ray and Jordan Martin both attended Hillcrest High School. Ray was new to the area, and trying to figure out where he fit in. His family says once he realized he didn't want to be part of Martin's crowd, it was too late.

"It doesn't seem to suffice because they still get to breathe the air, and see family members, and talk on the phone and things like that, and we can't do that with Kody,” says Danica Capobianco, Kody Ray's older sister.

Capobianco says she is thankful that a Greene County judge sentenced Jordan Martin to life in prison for first degree murder for his part in the death of her brother.

Ray was gunned down when he answered the door at his home on West Chicago. The family was having a birthday party.

"Justice was definitely served, but there's no closure gained," says Capobianco. “I mean, Kody's dead."

According to Chief Prosecuting Attorney Todd Myers, the death penalty was not sought out in this case.

"We understand he is a young man who does not have an extensive criminal history, but he was involved in a homicide that was planned and deliberate,” says Myers. “It took the life of another man in our community.”

Kody Ray’s aunt, Tina Nuzzo, says she feels the sentence is appropriate.

"I'm very pleased that both Jordan and Duke got life in prison,” says Nuzzo. “It just doesn't replace Kody. We'll never have Kody back.”

James Duke was convicted of first degree murder last summer. Prosecutors claim Martin was behind the shooting, although Duke actually pulled the trigger.

"He wasn't the one who pulled the trigger, I mean, he didn't just shoot him and kill him, I know they say he was in the car," says Betty Brooks, Martin’s grandmother.

Prosecutors say, however, just because Martin didn’t pull the trigger doesn’t mean he wasn’t guilty.

"The fact that he didn't pull the trigger doesn't make him any less culpable," says Myers, "In fact, sometimes, and even in this case, I would argue that this would not have happened had he not been the one orchestrating what happened behind the scenes."

Brooks says her grandson was a good kid, and feels the punishment is too harsh.

"I don't know how he got off course, hanging out with the wrong kids or something,” says Brooks. “He's young, he's been a good Christian before, and he’s made a mistake. I think God should give him, and people should give him, a second chance. I don't think he should get out of it, but I don't think he should have a life sentence."

Martin's motion for a re-trial was denied. He says he is going to file an appeal to his life sentence, but as of now he is not eligible for probation or parole.

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