YORK COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — It’s life in prison for 35-year-old Cindy Bryant, the woman convicted of shooting and killing her wife at a York County Walmart back in February 2018.
A judge handed down the sentence Thursday afternoon in York County. The color purple filled the courtroom during the sentencing hearing.
“This is Jean’s favorite color,” explained the victim’s mother, Dellajean McCray. “She loved some purple.”
Her friends and family wore purple sweatshirts, shirts and scarves as a symbol of support. It also became a symbol of the pain still felt by those who loved Jean Bryant, 37.
“Because when you lose someone it never heals,” said Dellajean Bryant. “You just learn to move on.”
Jean Bryant was shot and killed by her wife Cindy Bryant in the parking lot of the York County Walmart where she worked. The two were married for about three years and were estranged at the time of the shooting, according to testimony at the hearing.
Cindy bought ammunition at the Walmart, went to a nearby McDonald’s to load the gun and returned to the store to confront Jean.
Prosecutors said Cindy approached Jean at the Vision Center, aimed the gun at Jean and ordered her out of the store. Once outside, Jean attempted to run. Cindy fired five shots in the crowded parking lot. Two of the bullets hit Jean.
She died later in the hospital. Jean’s 19-year-old daughter, her older sister and her mother all took the stand at the sentencing hearing, giving tearful testimony on how the loss has affected their lives.
It was an emotional day for both families. Cindy’s mother also took the stand to support her daughter.
Jean’s family says they always had major concerns about the marriage but not because it was a gay relationship.
“I accepted it as long as my daughter was happy. But when my daughter started being miserable and hurting, I didn’t want it anymore,” said Dellajean Bryant. “I have nothing against same sex marriage. Nothing. But if you’re going to love a person, love them. Don’t hurt them.
At the hearing Thursday, prosecutors said Cindy had told a family member about her plan the night before.
After hearing both sides, the judge said Cindy’s attack was a “calculated hunt” and handed down a life sentence. She’ll serve 40 years before she’s eligible for parole.
Dellajean Bryant says it’s justice for Jean, but justice doesn’t take away the pain. And it doesn’t mean their work is done.
“This is just the beginning. Because not only do I want justice for Jean, I want justice for all. Justice for all family members who have lost loved ones to gun violence,” she said.