MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The man who killed a nursing student four years ago was given the maximum sentence Monday.
Steven Mason was convicted of killing Ke’lei Morris. Mason appeared before a judge and spoke for nearly an hour before the judge ultimately sentenced him to life in prison without parole.
Both his family and Morris’ family were in the courtroom.
“Just, not the right justice. Another black man is being put to jail for something he didn’t do,” said one of Mason’s family members.
Mason’s family members were upset after a judge handed down a life in prison sentence.
Mason was convicted of murder for his role in the death of Morris four years ago. The South nursing student was shot and killed in her apartment off Grelot Road in West Mobile.
“12 citizens of Mobile County heard the evidence over an extensive, long period of a long trial, they heard the evidence and they found him guilty of capital murder,” said Jennifer Wright, an Assistant District Attorney for the Mobile County District Attorney’s Office.
Mason was indicted for hiring Adam Miller to kill Morris. Both Mason and Miller were arrested in 2017, two years after Morris was found dead. Mason was also indicted in 2017 for trying to hire a fellow inmate to kill three witnesses in the case.
In court, Mason maintained he was innocent, but did say he was sorry for Morris’ family for what happened. Morris’ family left the courtroom, without commenting on his sentencing.
Mason also argued that he was not given a fair trial. He says that’s because one juror who initially found him not guilty was dismissed for inattentiveness during the trial. His lawyer says they plan to move forward with a motion for a new trial.
“At the end of the day, we think Mr. Mason will prevail and we’ll get a new trial, or a reversal,” said Susan James, Mason’s lawyer.
Mason’s lawyers have 30 days to file a motion for a new trial, but they are actively pursuing that. The DA’s office says they stand firm on the jury’s conviction.
In 2002 Mason was convicted of the murder of Mesha Anglin, but only served three years in prison after being granted youthful offender status.