VIRGINIA BEACH (WAVY) – Thirty minutes after hearing her son Jacquan convicted of murder and armed robbery, Natasha Wilson said he made the right decision representing himself in court, even with life in prison at stake.

“I feel like it was a good decision, because he got to tell his part of the story,” she said. “He got a lot of things out that he didn’t get to get out the first time.”

The first time was Wilson’s initial trial that ended in a mistrial four years ago.

Wilson was charged in the robbery and murder of Bryant Cueto, 18, when Wilson was 17, and both were still in high school. It happened in the parking lot of what was then an Applebee’s restaurant on General Booth Boulevard.

After two days of expert and eyewitness testimony from the Commonwealth, Wilson decided to call no witnesses, presented no exhibits, and opted not to testify himself and risk cross-examination.

Judge Stephen Mahan sustained objections during Wilson’s closing argument when he made claims that weren’t supported by the evidence. At one point, he told the 10 women and two men “I don’t have much of a case to present.”

Wilson told the jury, “I am not a murderer, I am not a robber, and I just got in over my head. But if you see a murderer, then find me guilty.”

Two hours later, they did just that.

Guilty of murder and armed robbery in a drug deal gone bad.

Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul Powers pointed out that Wilson brought only a few dollars to what was supposed to be a $350 deal to buy Xanax. But he did bring a gun, and it turned out to be the murder weapon.

It was an inflection point in a seven-year ordeal for Cueto’s family – but not an end point.

“I don’t get my son back, but at least during this grieving process this one chapter can be closed,” said Ginger Cueto, the mother of the victim. “We don’t have to continue to come back to court and have those wounds ripped open time and time again.”

She remembers her son as an “amazing person with a bright smile and great personality. He had great goals set for himself in life, and unfortunately this happened and he didn’t get to meet them but we will always remember him and he’ll forever be loved.”

“We’ve been working with this family for many, many years over the two different trials, and the co-defendant’s trial,” said Powers, who led the prosecution team. “We’re glad that we could finally give them the justice that they deserve.”

Natasha Wilson offered condolences to the Cueto family.

“We both lost children that day,” Natasha Wilson said. “Both of them were children that made messed up decisions, and I just want everybody to remember that. My son is not a monster.”

Wilson faces sentencing June 21. The murder and robbery convictions each carry prison terms of 20 years to life, and an additional gun charge carries a three-year mandatory minimum, for a overall potential sentence in the case of 43 years to life in prison.

Natasha Wilson said she’s praying for leniency.

Ginger Cueto said she’s hoping for the maximum sentence.