Life sentence for killer of Valdosta man in Alabama

Life sentence for killer of Valdosta man in Alabama

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The man who killed Valdosta native Ed Christian in Auburn, Alabama in 2012, was sentenced to life in prison-- without the possibility of parole--

Tuesday in Alabama.

Ed Christian, a former Lowndes High football player, was killed in a mass shooting in Auburn by Desmonte Leonard, who was convicted of three counts of capital murder.

Leonard also killed Demario Pitts, 20, of Opelika, and  Ladarious Phillips, 20, of Roanoke, Ala.  John Robertson, 20, and Xavier Moss, 19, both of Roanoke, and Eric Mack, 20, of Cameron, S.C. were all injured in the shooting.

Christian signed on to play football at Auburn. But he had to quit football because of an injury. He stayed at Auburn to pursue his degree.

Ed Christian was a man kids looked up to and adults respected. He was a big man who made a big impact in south Georgia.

The Lowndes High campus is the old stomping grounds for the late Ed Christian. One of his former teachers says he was not one to get in trouble.

"You could never convince me he was doing any wrong when this happened," said Lowndes High English teacher Andrea Bridges. "He was always the kind of kid that would be a peacemaker and doing the right think and making right decisions."

Teachers remember his last visit to Lowndes High over spring break.

"We were just talking about how with his injury, he wasn't playing football," said Lowndes High math teacher Krista Pearson. "By him still trying to get his degree, he still had goals. He had a lot of stuff he wanted to accomplish in life."

Ed was a man with a large family. They are expecting many people to come pay their respects.

"He has his family in Thomasville and he has his school there," Pearson said. "He came to Lowndes and he has people here he has impacted. Then he went to Auburn and he has impacted people everywhere he has been."

WTVM reports that Leonard will be able to make a statement on his own behalf. Then he'll be told he gets credit for time served.The sentence is explained, and he'll be informed of his right to appeal. Opelika Judge Jacob Walker has been known to overturn jury recommendations. In other cases, he has given the defendant the death penalty.

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