Willie Maurice Hervey, Jr. sentenced to 70 years for murder

Willie Maurice Hervey, Jr. sentenced to 70 years for murder
(Source: KAUZ)
(Source: KAUZ)
(Source: KAUZ)
(Source: KAUZ)
(Source: KAUZ)
(Source: KAUZ)

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - A jury in Wichita County convicted murderer Willie Maurice Hervey Jr. and sentenced him to 70-years in prison.

He will also have to pay a fine of $7,000 for killing Mark Austin Hawkins during a drug deal in 2014.

Hawkins' mother and step mother gave victim's impact statements.

They were both wearing shirts of Austin Hawkins and holding up photos of him and his grave.

Hawkins' mother told Hervey she hopes to one day forgive him because she says part of her died the day her son was murdered. Hawkins step-mother told the story when she first found out her step-son died.

She said all she wanted to do was hug Hawkins while he was still warm but she didn't want to affect the evidence.

The step-mother said she forgives Hervey but he needs to change his ways and the gang he affiliates with weren't really his friends.

When he was being escorted out of the courtroom in handcuffs, Hervey turned to the victim's family and apologized.

He told them he was sorry and swears he didn't mean to kill Hawkins.

The prosecution attorney Starla Jones said the family was strong throughout the trial.

"Austin's family was of course very devastated with the loss," Jones said. "It was pretty amazing to see the mom and step-mom show forgiveness.

"It was very touching they spoke of hope that [Hervey] will turn his life around and touch others."

Jones said the family thanked her for her hard work. Jones said the 70-year-sentence works to about the same as a life sentence.

Earlier in the evening during closing arguments, the prosecution argued Hervey chose to execute Hawkins for $250 worth of marijuana.

They also said Hervey chose the "gang life" and deserves life in prison.

Members of the prosecution also pointed out Hervey is a member of the 107 Hoova Crips.

The defense argued Hervey deserves a second chance and should receive the minimum five-year sentence.

Hervey won't be eligible for parole until the year 2052.