LaTonia Coleman has been waiting for this day for more than a year.
"My family still lives with the loss every day, as if it were yesterday," she told a Douglas County District Court judge Friday afternoon. "The pain is dramatic."
Coleman clutched a worn picture of her husband, 46-year-old Robert Earl Williams, of Topeka, who was gunned down outside the Granada in February 2006.
At times during Friday's sentencing for the man responsible for killing her husband, she held the picture next to her heart.
"There's nothing that can make up for it. No sentence can bring him back, but I want him to be held accountable," Coleman told District Judge Paula Martin.
A jury last month convicted Rashawn Anderson, 20, Topeka, of second-degree murder and aggravated battery for the Feb. 5, 2006, shooting outside the Granada that killed Williams and seriously injured a Kansas City, Kan., man.
The gunfire erupted minutes after a hip-hop concert had ended at the downtown nightclub.
"There's no reason for it to happen," Coleman said. "It was just senseless."
But Friday brought some relief to Coleman as the judge sentenced Anderson to more than 15 years in prison.
Defense attorney Mark Manna had asked for the minimum sentence, given Anderson's youth and his lack of a criminal record.
Prosecutors sought the aggravated sentence, calling Williams' murder a "calculated killing."
"It was a cowardice act of shooting him in the back repeatedly," Assistant District Attorney Trent Krug argued. "He fired a weapon into a crowd of people. It could have produced a much more tragic result."
The judge compromised, ordering Anderson to spend 187 months behind bars. Despite the closure the sentencing brought, Williams' family members still had one burning question.
"The only thing that will always be in my heart is the word 'why,'" Williams' mother, Ida Mae Williams, told the judge.
Anderson could serve even more time behind bars. He's currently facing first-degree murder charges in Shawnee County in connection with the July 2005 shooting death of a 19-year-old Topeka man.
As for Coleman, she plans to move away from her home in Lawrence. Her 8-year-old son still struggles with the loss of his father. She hopes moving to Seattle will help ease the pain.
"My life moves on," she said. "I'll never forget him, but we're going to go back where the memories were good."
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