Eighteen-year-old Eduardo Marmolejo will spend 35 years in prison with no chance for parole for fatally stabbing principal Suzette York in 2011.
Defense Attorney Leslie Ballin says in his years of handling certain criminal cases where he searches for a rational explanation for a horrific crime. He knows sometimes there are no rational explanations.
"You have families that have been devastated, you have a life that ended way too short, then you have a young man that ended that life," he said.
Marmalejo, will not be a free man until his mid 50s, plead guilty to second degree murder on Tuesday in Shelby County Criminal Court in the death of the 49-year-old principal, stabbing her nine times in he throat and neck in 2011.
"You are agreeing to a 35 year sentence and that's going to be served at 100-percent, in other words there is no parole in that 35 years; 35 years means 35 years," said Criminal Court Judge Mark Ward stated.
"The extended sentence was a punishment of his wrong doing," Ballin said. "I actually believe that the sentence was arrived at based on Mr. York's feelings as to how this matter should be handled."
After Judge Ward handed down his sentence, Marmalejo pulled a folded letter from his pocket and read aloud, saying he's sorry.
The prosecution says this was the best outcome for the victim's family to avoid reliving what happened two years ago.
"This is extremely difficult situation for him in particular because of the way he came upon the scene and was sort of part of it," said prosecutor Reginald Henderson.
Sitting on the stand with the resignation of the agreement and time he will sit behind bars for taking a life, Marmalejo's parents walked out of court with the realization that they too have lost a life.
His mother told reporters her family is with Jesus, they're protected by God and without God, they are nothing.