VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — It took seven years for the family of Bryant Austin Cueto to get justice.

Bryant was shot in the back in the front seat of a friend’s car during a drug deal-turned robbery in May of 2016. Thursday morning, a Virginia Beach Circuit Court judge sentenced the now-25-year-old man who pulled the trigger, Jacquan Wilson, to 56 years of active jail time for murder and robbery.

The crime happened in an Applebee’s parking lot off General Booth Boulevard when Bryant was 18. Wilson was 17 years old at the time. Both teens were still in high school.

During his trial, testimony from the Commonwealth showed he brought only a few dollars with him to purchase $350 worth of Xanax. He also brought a gun.

Wilson was found guilty on first-degree murder, robbery and use of a firearm charges earlier this year, after a 3-day trial. His initial trial four years ago ended in a mistrial after some of the jurors’ cars were broken into.

A second suspect in this case, Andarion McInnis, is serving a 28-year sentence for charges, including robbery. He was found not guilty of murder in August 2017.

Outside of the courtroom, Bryant’s mother, Ginger Cueto, referred to the sentencing as the lifting of a burden.

“We would start to heal and move forward some, and then coming back to court is like ripping that band-aid off and starting all over again,” she said. “So, it’s been very difficult for everybody for seven years, so I’m just really, really glad to close this chapter.”

Prior to the sentencing, friends and family members testified about who Bryant was, and how his loss had impacted their lives.

He was described repeatedly as an especially compassionate person, and a trickster who found joy in making others laugh.

His grandmother, Karen Russell, told of a time when she caught him giving clothes, a winter jacket and bedding to a schoolmate. When she scolded him for it, he told her the friend was homeless and needed it more than him.

“Who would do such a thing to such a caring person?” she asked, facing Wilson from the witness stand.

Hannah Johnson, Bryant’s girlfriend at the time of his death, told the court that he’d always been the funniest guy in the room. The pair had both attended Grassfield High School and his death affected her so much that she almost wasn’t able to graduate.

“I was 16 years old when my boyfriend was shot and murdered,” she said through tears. “I know if he was still here, we’d be celebrating 10 years together.”

Ginger told the judge that more than one person died that day, describing the pain and anguish she’d spent the last seven years living with.

“On May first 2016, my son was given a death sentence and my family was given a life sentence,” she said.

Ginger described her son as someone who looked out for everyone.

“I have had several people tell me he befriended them when no on else would,” Ginger said.