Teen gets 33 years in high school senior’s shooting death

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A teenager who admitted to shooting and killing a high school senior in Virginia Beach will spend over three decades in prison.

In court Wednesday, Ethan Torres said he was sorry for killing 18-year-old Sidea Griffin in January 2017.

“There are no words,” said Griffin’s grandmother Patty McPherson. “It is just indescribable the pain that we’ve all gone through.”

Griffin’s family waited for 17 months to get justice.  Now they say the healing can begin.

“That judge really heard our cry and I’m grateful for that,” McPherson added.

Torres was meeting Griffin’s boyfriend to buy marijuana.  He planned to steal the drugs at gunpoint. When things went bad he fired a shot at the car, hitting Griffin, who was in the passenger’s seat.

“We still are without Dea,” McPherson said.  “She’s not coming back.  His parents have an opportunity to go visit him in jail, to sit and talk with him, to touch him and tell him that they love him.”

Torres told the court he was sorry for what he did and that the gun went off by accident.

“I’m not a bad person,” he added.  “I’m not a killer. It was an accident on account of my bad decision making.”

Torres’ mother says he started hanging out with the wrong crowd after getting kicked off the Landstown High football team when he was in 9th grade.

“He had no intention to kill the victim,” said his attorney James Broccoletti.  “He took a shot at the car, which is absolutely criminal and is absolutely wrong.”

Torres also said he realizes his bad decisions have left not only Griffin’s family in pain, but his own.

“I think he’s remorseful,” Broccoletti added.  “I think he’s accepted responsibility.  I think he demonstrated that today to the court.”

“You took a life,” McPherson said. “You can’t just one day turn around and say ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to do this,’ because it doesn’t change anything.”

Griffin was an honor student at Kempsville High School, just months away from graduation.  She wanted to be a nurse in the Navy.

Torres was 17 at the time of the shooting, but was tried as an adult. He will be released when he is 51 and says he wants to work with mentoring young people when he gets out.

“It’s just sad that this young man just chose to take such a wonderful life, and he has a long time to think about that,” McPherson added.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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