Tuesday's sentencing for a Waukegan man charged with the 2010 murder of Park City cabdriver Patrick Foster began with a gut-wrenching audio recording of
Foster's 911 cellphone call, and concluded with 47-year prison sentence for shooter Darryel Garner.
Two years longer than the 45-year mandatory minimum, Lake County Judge James K. Booras' sentence was 13 years shy of the 60-year sentence prosecutors requested.
"Sheer stupidity" caused Garner, a passenger in Foster's cab, to shoot the married father "without warning, without mercy" during an attempted robbery early March 13, 2010, said Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Eric Kalata. Despite five gunshot wounds to his head, neck and upper body, Foster pinned his killer under him and waited for police to arrive, Kalata said.
"I got him ... Help me please, I'm going to die," Foster gasped to the emergency dispatcher.
Foster, 45, died from his injuries two months later, leaving his family and community "without a father, confidant, spouse and friend," Kalata said.
Lake County Assistant Public Defender Keith Grant agreed his client acted stupidly, but reminded the court Garner has expressed remorse and "accepted responsibility for actions that have destroyed two families."
Last month, days before his trial was to begin, Garner entered a guilty plea, which was akin to throwing himself on the mercy of the court.
Referencing classes and counseling sessions Garner has participated in at Lake County jail, Grant described him as a "model prisoner."
"He has done everything to make good on what is left of his life," Grant said.
An emotional Garner apologized to the Foster family and asked for their forgiveness.
"If I could take it back I would," Garner said, requesting mercy from the court. "I wasn't living right as my Lord would have me live. If I was living for Him, I wouldn't be here now."
Garner, 42, received 1,474 days credit for the time he has spent in jail since his arrest. He must complete 100 percent of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.
About a dozen Foster friends and family members sobbed quietly and held each other during the hearing. In a statement read by Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Jeff Pavletic, Maria Foster described the pain of losing her husband and children's father.
"The assassination of a loved one effects you in every way," she wrote. "All you do is cry."
Calling Patrick, "the most valuable treasure God has given us," she described him as an honest, humble, God-fearing man who worked hard to provide for his family.
"All of his spare time was devoted to us," she wrote. "He was our happiness and security and we depended on him to live."
Also at the hearing was Foster's ex-wife Kathy, mother of two of his older children, Sarah and Quinton, a member of the U.S. Navy. Their father's death devastated them, Kathy Foster said.
"They've been suffering so much. They lost a father, too," she said.
Booras said he intended his sentence to protect society and send a message to Garner and people like him "who believe that rolling somebody for money is the only way to survive."
"He shot first and asked questions later," Booras said. "He shot five times. If that's not intent, if that's not premeditation, I don't know what is."