TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Each of the four men found guilty in the murder of Hoyt Birge will spend decades behind bars.
Tuesday was the sentencing date for David Howard, Page Briggs, Stanley West, and Patrick Berrrain, who were all previously found guilty of third degree murder for beating and shooting Birge in May 2017.
Based on the brutality of the murder, the state asked for maximum prison sentences between 50 and 60 years for all four defendants.
David Howard's defense attorney requested the court go with the minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years because Howard is a veteran with no prior criminal history.
Instead, Judge Frank Allman sentenced Howard to 30 years in prison.
Page Briggs addressed the court, saying he is deeply remorseful for his actions and he hopes Birge's family can find peace. Briggs, also, was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
When it was Stanley West's turn, the state asked for a longer sentence of 60 years. West has a criminal history and has already served prison time.
Judge Allman sentenced West to 30 years minimum as a felony offender.
Finally, Patrick Berrane, the man who pulled the trigger, was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
"I'm standing here now fighting for Hoyt. I'm standing here for my brother to tell this courtroom Hoyt Birge was loved just like this family loves this man right here," said Dwight Birge, Hoyt's Uncle. "All we want is justice your honor."
Berrane's parents addressed the courtroom, saying they cannot begin to understand their son's actions and their hearts are heavy for the Birge family.
Every seat in the courtroom was full as family and friends of Birge, and all four defendants, waited for sentencing.
Briggs and Berrane were the only defendants who spoke in court on Tuesday, both apologizing to Birge's family.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Patrick Berrane has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for the murder of Hoyt Birge.
Circuit Judge Frank Allman sentenced Berrane to 40 years plus another 10 years to be served concurrently. Berrane was found guilty of third-degree murder, two counts of false imprisonment, and theft.
Earlier, David Howard was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the murder of Hoyt Birge.
The state asked for a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison. The defense attorney asked the court for a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years.
Defense attorney Darren Shippy says Howard is a veteran who supposedly suffers from PTSD and has no prior criminal convictions.
In the end, the judge sentenced Howard to 30 years in prison.
In May 2017, Hoyt Birge was shot and killed, after being bound and beaten, when he showed up to the house on Mission Road. Detectives say after shooting Birge in close range, his body was found in the trunk of a car in U-Club apartment complex.
U Club murder sentencing for four set for Tuesday
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Four people found guilty of third-degree murder in the May 2017 death of Hoyt Birge are set to be sentenced Tuesday.
David Howard, Page Briggs, Patrick Berrane, Stanley West were convicted in September.
In May 2017, officials say, Birge was shot and killed after being bound and beaten.
Birge's body was found in the trunk of a car in U-Club apartment complex.
A total of eight people were believed to be involved.
The sentencing is set to begin this morning at 9.
Four out of five suspects in U Club murder found guilty
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Four of the five suspects being tried in the death of Hoyt Birge have been found guilty of murder.
David Howard has been found guilty of third-degree murder, false imprisonment, and theft.
Page Briggs has been found guilty of third-degree murder, two counts of false imprisonment, and assault.
Patrick Berrane has been found guilty of third-degree murder, two counts of false imprisonment, and theft.
Stanley West has been found guilty of third-degree murder and two counts of false imprisonment. He was found not guilty of carjacking.
Vicki Strickland has been found not guilty of accessory after the fact.
The state said Hoyt Birge was killed on purpose as he was shot, after being bound and beaten, when he showed up to the house on Mission Road. Detectives say after shooting Birge in close range, his body was found in the trunk of a car in U-Club apartment complex.
The defense attorneys argued the shooting was self-defense.
The judge will have to sentence the defendants at a later date and a case management hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 2.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Closing arguments continued Wednesday night in a complex murder case in Leon County.
Five of the eight people, charged in the death of Hoyt Birge, have been on trial since last week.
The jury first heard from the state.
Prosecutors argued the defendants did not act in self-defense.
They say Hoyt Birge and Peter Tournay were not armed, yet they were taped up, pistol-whipped and beaten.
On top of that, Birge was shot, killed, dismembered and disposed of.
The state argued Birge's death was not an accident. It was intentional.
"Once the men come in, and you jump out and they don't have a gun, it's not self-defense anymore, is it? What about after you hit Hoyt one, two, three, four times in the head? Is it over then? When does it stop being self-defense? The men are on the ground, beaten and taped up -- and we're still going to kill one of them," said Prosecutor Georgia Cappleman.
The defense argues self-defense.
One by one, the defense attorneys argued that Birge planned to harm their clients and that his death wasn't calculated.
"After the gunshot went off is the best evidence there was no intent to kill, none whatsoever. Everybody was in total shock. Everybody was freaked out. As a matter of fact, there was testimony that Mr. Berrane was freaked out," said Daren Shippy, Attorney for David Howard. "He was crying hysterically. This was an accidental discharge of a firearm."
Jury deliberations will begin Thursday morning at 9:00 a.m.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - A jury will start deliberating Wednesday in a complex murder trial in Leon County.
It involves five of eight suspects charged in the death of Hoyt Birge.
It was an emotional final day of testimony, with just one of the five defendants taking the stand.
Page Briggs broke down as he explained he didn't have time to stop what happened to Hoyt Birge. At one point, Vicki Strickland actually had to leave the courtroom. Her lawyer said she was having a panic attack.
After an extended afternoon break, the state brought back a TPD detective for a quick rebuttal, but after that, the judge ended session for the day.
It will be a busy day Wednesday, starting with jury instructions. That's followed by closing arguments.
The state expects to take about 45 minutes for that, and attorneys for each of the five defendants said they'll need about the same.
After that, it's in the hands of the jury, and with five defendants and several different charges, a verdict could take a while.
In addition to Briggs and Strickland, Patrick Berrane, Stanley West and David Howard are on trial.
Paige Vowell has already been sentenced to life in prison. No trial date has been scheduled for Jesse Fox or Britteny Guthrie.