MIAMI (CBS4) – Convicted earlier this year of killing a tourist from Chicago in cold blood, a Miami-Dade judge has sentenced 26-year old Brandon Rolle to life in prison without parole.
The jury had recommended a death sentence, but Judge Dennis Murphy overrode their decision Wednesday morning.
“Only the worst of the worst are to be sentenced to death,” Murphy said reading his decision. He added that the crime falls short of being cruel and heinous.
“Mr. Rolle will go to prison. He will never leave prison alive,” Murphy said.
Rolle was found guilty of robbing and killing Chicago tourist 54-year-old Ronald Gentile in July of 2006 after Gentile stopped him and asked for directions.
Gentile was in town to celebrate his son’s 17th birthday. His ex-wife Catherine Girten and mother to their 17-year-old son expressed disappointment about the judge overriding the jury’s decision.
“He knows the law and he did what he feels is right,” Girten said. “The comfort is knowing that this man will be in prison for the rest of his life.”
Girten made a public statement in court asking that Rolle be prosecuted “to the fullest extent of the law.”
“No child deserves to lose their father in this fashion. You must send a message that violent and senseless crimes will not go unpunished. I ask you to follow the jury’s recommendation and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law,” Girten told the judge before he read his decision.
Investigators say Gentile dropped the teen off at the Shops of Sunset Place in South Miami where he worked at a mall restaurant. Minutes later, Gentile was robbed and killed about 5:30 p.m. at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Jefferson Street, just a few blocks from U.S. 1. Rolle took his necklace with a cross, a gold bracelet, a diamond ring and a wallet.
Police say Gentile, unfamiliar with Miami-Dade, asked for help from a stranger and was robbed and shot while inside his rental car.
Gentile would have been heading back to his ex-wife’s home in the Dadeland Mall area, when police say he likely headed toward downtown Miami and ended up in the Grove.
Witnesses told police they saw Gentile roll down the window of his rented white Chevrolet Cobalt, then Rolle robbed and fatally shot Gentile.