A Rock Island County judge on Wednesday sentenced Lamaree E. Wilson-Neuleib to 62 years in prison for fatally shooting one man and seriously injuring another in May 2015.
During a lengthy sentencing hearing at the Rock Island County Justice Center, Associate Judge Gregory Chickris sentenced the 19-year-old to 50 years on one count of first-degree murder and 12 years on one count of aggravated battery with a firearm. The sentences will run back-to-back.
Wilson-Neuleib will have to serve 100 percent of the murder sentence and 85 percent of the aggravated battery sentence, for a total of 60.2 years.
Chickris also denied his motion for a new trial.
He was found guilty by a Rock Island County jury on Oct. 17.
Prosecutors argued at trial that Wilson-Neuleib, then 17, fired 11 bullets into the car of Zachary M. Phillips, 18, around 10:30 a.m. May 20, 2015, in the 4600 block of 53rd Street in Moline.
Phillips died from his injuries. His friend and front-seat passenger, Erik Roberson, 21, was seriously injured but survived. A third man, Matthew Merrill, 19, who was in the backseat of the car, was uninjured.
Roberson testified at trial that Wilson-Neuleib had called him earlier that morning to buy marijuana.
Wilson-Neuleib was arrested shortly after the shooting.
He initially pleaded guilty to the charges in October 2015 and was sentenced Nov. 25, 2015, to 50 years in prison on the murder charge and 10 years on the aggravated battery charge.
In May, Associate Judge Norma Kauzlarich allowed Wilson-Neuleib to take back his guilty plea and vacated his sentence after prosecutors said he was not properly informed at the time of his plea that he faced a mandatory 25-year firearms enhancement to his sentence.
Several family and friends gave victim impact statements during Wednesday's sentencing hearing.
Phillips’ mother, Lyndsie McCoy, said a piece of her died the day her son was killed.
“Why would you want to hurt Zac, or anyone for that matter?” she asked from the witness stand. ”He would have been your friend.”
McCoy said it took 18 years to raise Phillips, and it took only seconds to end his life.
"He (Wilson-Neuleib) made the decision to kill, murder, to take my son's life," she said.
Phillips’ grandfather, Charlie Phillips, said he hoped Wilson-Neuleib would get the maximum sentence.
“You deserve it,” he said. “I hope you get to think about it every day for the rest of the time you have. I pray that you go to hell and stay there.”
Pam Serra, Phillips’ maternal grandmother, said he was the kind of person who helped his friends and others when they needed it.
On May 20, 2015, he was helping his friend, Roberson, by giving him a ride, Serra said.
“If Zac had known Lamaree, he would have helped him with anything he could,” she said.
Wilson-Neuleib declined to make a statement at sentencing.
In handing down the sentence, Chickris agreed with the defense that “young people’s brains are not yet fully developed.”
However, this was not an impulsive act, he said.
“This is not the type of offense that a young person would have committed out of impetuosity, out of impulse, out of not thinking about the consequences of the action,” Chickris said. “This was planned. The defendant took great steps in planning this offense.”