JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- The man who robbed and killed the owner of a gas station in Jeffersonville last fall has learned his sentence.
A Clark County judge sentenced Antonio McRae to 50 years in prison Thursday afternoon, weeks after he pleaded guilty to the murder.
It wasn't the max allowed by law, but Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull is pleased.
"Mr. McRae stole the rest of the natural life of the victim in this case, and he owes the state of Indiana the rest of his life," said Mull.
Praful Patel's family maintained somber silence after the hearing.
"I believe that they're happy with the sentence, and are ready to move on," said Mull.
Patel was shot to death during a robbery inside the Stop & Go gas station and convenience store on Allison Lane on Oct. 11, 2018.
Patel, who ran the business with his family, was well-known in the community. Nearly 100 people attended a prayer vigil two days after the murder, leaving flowers, candles and balloons to honor the 49-year-old father.
On June 13, McRae pleaded guilty to murder while committing an armed robbery. Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull says a conviction less than six months into a murder case is unusual, but he agreed to drop two charges and accept McRae's guilty plea so McRae couldn't change his mind.
McRae told reporters during a court appearance in late December that he didn't plan to shoot Patel.
"The only thing I can say is I'm really -- I'm sorry that that happened," McRae told reporters outside the Clark County courtroom. "It was not intended to happen. I ... did not go in there intending to harm Mr. Patel at all."
McRae said the gun fired when Patel tried to grab it. "That's how it happened. I didn't pull the trigger intentionally."
McRae will have the opportunity to apply for a modification of his sentence after serving 45 years.
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