FAIRBANKS — A 26-year-old Fairbanks man was sentenced Friday morning to serve a 60-year prison term for the 2010 murder of Bryan Richardson in the parking lot of a Goldstream Valley restaurant.
Superior Court Judge Randy Olsen imposed the sentence on Sean Jeffers after a two-hour hearing that included emotional statements from Richardson’s family and testimony from Jeffers, who gave his account of the shooting for the first time in open court.
The 60-year sentence was the maximum allowed under Jeffers’ plea agreement to a charge of second-degree murder. He will be eligible for parole when he completes one-third of his sentence.
Jeffers, wearing a yellow prison jumpsuit from Fairbanks Correctional Center with a dollar-sign tattoo just visible on the back of his neck, looked straight ahead and did not react noticeably when Olsen read the sentence.
Olsen said there was merit in prosecutors’ description of Jeffers as an “angry, paranoid, aggressive, bitter, drug-dealing and drug-abusing individual,” but he also said there was evidence he was “not completely evil” and might one day rehabilitate. He also said it was appropriate that Jeffers pleaded guilty to second-degree murder because there was no evidence that the killing was pre-meditated.
When he first was charged, Jeffers had a co-defendant, David Pfalmer, who was accused of planning the killing. Pfalmer pleaded guilty to third-degree assault last fall and is serving a two-year sentence.
Jeffers fatally shot Richardson in the chest in March 2010.
During his testimony at Friday’s sentencing, Jeffers gave his account of the shooting. He said he believes Richardson and another man broke into his house and stole a backpack of marijuana. Jeffers said he wanted to talk to Richardson and get his door fixed, but had no plans to shoot Richardson when he walked up to his vehicle outside Ivory Jack’s.
Some movement by Richardson led him to pull a gun from his pocket, he said.
“I shot into the car,” he said. “I didn’t aim. I didn’t know where I was shooting,” he said. “I didn’t mean to kill him. I’ll tell you that much.”
Richardson’s family in the audience interrupted Jeffers to contradict him when he said Richardson was known to carry a gun.
On cross-examination prosecutors confronted Jeffers with his own words spoken in jailhouse conversations after his arrest.
“You said, ‘I don’t regret killing him. I don’t care about him or his family’; those are your words, sir,” said Assistant District Attorney Scott Mattern, reading what he said were Jeffers’ recorded words.
Jeffers didn’t challenge the accuracy of the quotation.
“I was mad man, my life was coming apart,” he said. “I was mad.”
Jeffers did apologize to Richardson’s family during his turn to speak before the pronouncement of the sentence.
Richardson’s mother tried to read a statement about how the killing has affected her family, but her hands were shaking so much that it was difficult to hear over the flapping of the paper she was holding. Her sister did the reading instead.
The mother of Richardson’s girlfriend asked to stand facing Jeffers before reading her statement.
“I hope you never love, marry or have the chance to have children, ever. You don’t deserve it, and I hope you don’t ever see the light of day,” she said near the end of her statement.
“I hope you stay in a dark place, because that’s where Bryan’s family and all of us have been.”
Contact staff writer Sam Friedman at 459-7545. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMcrime.