BRADENTON -- Earl Scott was sentenced Thursday to life in prison for the 2012 fatal shooting of Ruben Harris.
Scott, 33, shot Harris, 29, multiple times outside a Shell gas station at the intersection of 301 Boulevard East and Ninth Street East in the early morning hours of April 30.
On Jan. 29 a jury found Scott guilty of second-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
"Mr. Scott you gave up your right to live among our free society when you chose to shoot Mr. Harris three times at close range," Manatee County Judge Edward Nicholas said.
Before announcing the sentence, Nicholas recounted the description of Harris as a fine family man.
"Only you, in your heart of hearts, do you know why you shot Mr. Harris, but that is the only thing we don't know for your sure," Nicholas said. "Unfortunately, Mr. Scott you made the mistake of shooting Mr. Harris in front of two eyewitnesses who knew you."
Harris's family was pleased with the outcome.
"We are very relieved with the judge's decision," said his sister, Abra Curry. "We want to thank the sheriff's office, especially Detective Bliss, for the help of the community who came together."
The community gave law enforcement information when Scott fled, she said.
Curry spoke of the good man her brother was.
"He definitely will be missed. Earl Scott took his life away way too soon," Curry said. "There are no winners in this case, and we suffered the greatest loss."
Scott did not address the courtroom Thursday.
His family spoke on his behalf.
"I am asking you to give him the minimum amount of time. He is human. People make mistakes," cousin Patrice Grant said.
She asked for Scott to be looked at as a "human, cousin, son, father and friend."
Many of Scott's family members offered condolences to the Harris family. They asked not to lose a loved one also.
"This was not a heat of passion incident," Assistant State Attorney Brian Chambers said. "When the defendant decided to resolve his problems by resorting to the most severe method of solving his problems, he showed us this wasn't a mistake. It was a decision."
Defense attorney James Rawe disagreed.
"We don't really know what happen that night," Rawe said.
Rawe said none of Scott's prior convictions were for violence and most were drug-related.
Scott's past arrests include charges of possession of cocaine, giving false information to law enforcement, possession of marijuana, aggravated assault with a firearm, sale or delivery of cocaine and domestic battery by strangulation.
Amaris Castillo, Herald reporter, contributed to this report.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her Twitter@JDeLeon1012.