JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - During the 90 minute hearing before Judge Dale Harkey, Steven Brown, Senior repeatedly broke down and cried. Twice he asked for the Lord's forgiveness. But Brown never once looked at the victim's family and friends sitting in the courtroom, and never apologized for his actions.
Friends were not convinced of his remorse. One of them is Loren Wilt. "I surely believe it was an act. I've known Steve, I've eaten lunch with him many times, I know the kind of person he is and I believe it was an act. I know he feels remorse because he's going to spend the rest of his life in prison," Wilt said.
Jack Markowitz's daughter, her eyes filled with tears, talked about her father. "This was my daddy," Shereen Kostmayer told the court. "This was the wonderful man who died because of the evil in Steve Brown. He took him from us. He killed a kind and good and gentle man who had helped him so many times before."
Jackson County District Attorney Tony Lawrence also talked about the loss of Markowitz. "This is truly one of those cases where it's just senseless and I don't know why it happened, your honor, but I know this in meeting all the people, that the world was better with Jack in it and less without him," Lawrence said.
After Judge Harkey imposed the life without parole sentence, The DA said family members did not want to go through a long and painful trial. "There's so much uncertainly in death penalty cases and they take such a long time and that's what they wanted, they wanted to have some closure. You know, the sad thing about it is they'll never have Jack back and they'll never be able to completely close the nightmare that this has been for them," Lawrence explained.
Brown's defense attorneys agreed. One of them was John Helmert Jr. "It's heartbreaking for both the family of Jack and for Steve's family as well as well as those two individuals. It's heartbreaking for all of us to have to be here today," Helmert said.
Heartbreaking no doubt, but also a time for the healing process to begin for a family torn apart by violence.
In addition to the life in prison sentence, Judge Harkey also fined Brown Sr. $11,000 dollars on the murder and arson charges, and ordered him to have no contact with the victim's family or friends.
Brown will serve out his sentence at Parchman Penitentiary.