Kenneth Thomas, who last January fatally shot a gas station clerk during a botched armed robbery, will spend the next 45 years of his life behind bars.
Thomas, 21, of West Allis was sentenced May 4 in Waukesha County Circuit Court to a combined 45 years in prison for killing Saeed Sharwani of the town of Brookfield at the Citgo gas station, 1445 Whiterock Ave., Waukesha, and his participation in an unrelated robbery a few days before the homicide at a 7-Eleven in the town of Brookfield.
He was sentenced to 35 years for the gas station murder and 10 for the armed robbery.
In addition to prison time, Judge Lloyd Carter, who presided over the hearing, sentenced Thomas to 10 years of extended supervision on each of two charges: felony murder and armed robbery. Thomas previously pleaded guilty to both offenses as part of a plea agreement that required him to testify against Darrin Malone, another man involved in the Citgo killing.
Thomas received credit for 477 days already served, according to online court records. Carter also ordered him to jointly pay almost $19,000 in restitution to an insurance company.
As conditions of his probation, Thomas is required to maintain absolute sobriety and has to undergo a mental health evaluation and follow through on any recommended treatment.
Jerica Cotton drove Thomas and Malone around Waukesha the night of Jan. 13, 2015, until they came across the Citgo station in Waukesha. Cotton parked nearby.
Thomas and Malone, who were wearing dark clothes, donned Halloween masks and walked into the station, where Thomas, armed with a pistol, demanded money from Sharwani.
During a brief confrontation with Sharwani, Thomas said in a criminal complaint that the gun in his hand 'went off' and Sharwani fell to the floor. The bullet struck him in the chest.
Sharwani, 65, of Brookfield died a short time later but not before he was able to call police.
According to surveillance footage of the incident, Malone, who was unarmed, mostly stayed behind Thomas throughout the robbery.
'More than sorry'
Thomas in a letter to the court said he was 'more than sorry' for the killing.
'If I could I'll take (Sharwani's) place just to see him with his family again,' Thomas wrote. 'But I can't and the only good thing I can do is not let this wonderful man's death be in vain.'
He was the final defendant to be sentenced for his involvement in the homicide.
Malone, 29, was found guilty of felony murder by a jury in February and was sentenced April 21 to 25 years in prison and 10 years of extended supervision.
Cotton, 24, the getaway driver, was sentenced April 28 to eight years in prison and 10 years of extended supervision. Even though she was not inside the gas station with Thomas and Malone, she also pleaded guilty to armed robbery in February.