VIRGINIA BEACH, Va (WVEC) – A man convicted in connection to a deadly robbery of a high school student got his sentence almost cut in half after a hearing Wednesday.
Andarion McInnis was previously recommended to spend 48 years in jail by a jury, but a judge cut that down to 28 years.
A jury previously found McInnis not guilty of of first degree murder.
But in August, the 20-year old was convicted of robbery, conspiracy and two counts of use of a firearm.
Last year, prosecutors said McInnis, along with a friend, went to do a drug deal with Bryant Cueto.
Cueto was shot after prosecutors said McInnis told his friend to “Pop him”. Cueto died from a gunshot wound.
The judge said the jury’s recommendation of 48 years for McInnis was “Shocking to the court” since he didn’t fire the gun.
Before making the decision, the judge heard testimony from McInnis himself and his family.
His father, Antonio McInnis, wanted his son to walk away a free man.
"I still stand behind my son innocent and I'm still here to support him,” McInnis said.
McInnis’ family had words to the victim’s loved ones.
"I'm sorry about what happened to your son, but I have a son also and I want my son to come home,” said Andarion’s mother, Janice McInnis. “Because I know the things they say he's done...he did not do."
Cueto’s family and friends were disappointed with the judge’s decision.
"The jury saw the evidence and it's just shocking that the judge decided what she did,” said Hanna Johansen, Cueto’s ex-girlfriend. "I wish we could have gotten more justice and [the judge] would have stuck to the jury plan."
Jaquan Wilson, the juvenile who allegedly shot Cueto, is expected to go to trial next year.
Cueto’s family hopes for a different outcome in that case.
"I'm unstable. And I have to accept that I have to go through this process again and it could end up how it is now,” Johansen said. “I'm hoping for the best."