GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Wednesday brought closure to so many people, but the past three days have also opened a lot of wounds. The horrific details of Janaya Thompson's rape and murder have been replayed in court over and over, but it all served a purpose. That was to bring justice for Janaya.
"We were hoping for justice, and I think that's what was given today," said Angela Hinton, who was Janaya's cousin.
Around 2:45 p.m., Judge Lisa Dodson sentenced Janaya Thompson's killer to death. He was asked if he wanted to make any final statements to the court. Alberto Garcia declined.
"Just watching him show no remorse at all, you know he hasn't shed a tear these three days," said Gretta Hinton, who was Janaya's aunt.
The details that unfolded in court were graphic, but District Attorney Joel Smith felt it was important for the court to hear just how horrendous of a crime Garcia had committed.
"As a father, I cannot imagine the daily heartache that those parents go through because of what this defendant chose to do," said Smith.
Emotion flooded the courtroom during the three-day sentencing hearing. Garcia's defense attorney even got emotional during closing arguments after saying, "I know the community has called for Alberto's head on a platter. I know they've also called for mine."
Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania wrote a heartfelt letter about the case that deeply affected much of his department.
"This is just a really important case from the moment it started to unfold. It got somewhere we're not supposed to let cases go with us, and it got in my heart as it did with everybody you saw working in there today," said Papania.
Janaya's family also wrote a note, thanking the police department and district attorney for their work. They also thanked everyone for their prayers and support.
"Now I feel like we can move on and she can rest in peace," said Gretta.
Dodson took a little more than three hours to deliberate the sentence. Before pronouncing the sentence, she said, "This is one of the worst I've ever seen in terms of what happened to this child."