Konrad Schafer sentenced to life in prison

FOX35's Holly Bristow reports on Orlando News Now.

- A central Florida teen has been sentenced to life in prison for his part in a 15-day shooting spree that included a fatal robbery.   A judge sentenced 18-year-old Konrad Schafer on Friday to two consecutive life terms. He pleaded guilty in January to two adult counts of first-degree murder.

Authorities say a then-15-year-old Schafer -- along with Juan Muriel, Victoria Rios and David Damus -- participated in the shooting spree in July 2013 that left two people -- 22-year-old Eric Roopnarine and 17-year-old David Guerrero -- dead and more than 20 houses and vehicles damaged.

Schafer had a blank look on his face as he apologized to the families of the victims.  “I know I did wrong.  I know my apologies don’t mean anything to you.  I wish it never happened. I wish I could take it back,  I can’t,” said Schafer.

Schafer’s mother, Karen Kramer, also took the stand.  Through a sign language interpreter, she told the court that her son suffered leukemia as a little boy.  She testified that  three years of harsh cancer drugs changed Konrad.   “The doctor had explained that his behavior would change, because of it, even the color of his eyes and his hair.  They gave me a whole bunch of things that may be changing.  What I noticed more than anything was behavior -- he was a lot more emotional,” said Kramer.

While Schafer suffered a challenging childhood, the victims' families had little sympathy for whom they consider to be a cold-blooded killer.  

Geurro was on his way to his summer job and was gunned down while walking to the bus stop.  “Judge, don’t have any mercy with this guy,” said Guerro’s brother.

Investigators say Schafer and his friends rushed the door, forcing their way into Roopnarine's home.  He was shot just inside the doorway.  Prosecutors say Damus killed Roopnarine. He was convicted of first-degree murder and armed burglary in June.  “I wish I could take you out back and hold a gun to your head and let you know how Eric felt,” Roopnarine’s aunt said while sitting on the stand, staring at Schafer.

Roopnarine’s grandfather says Schafer’s emotionless apology means nothing to him.  He also said a life sentence doesn’t compare to the pain he feels every day when he remembers his only grandchild’s last breath.  “That will never erase from our brain. We saw him lying dead there, me and my two daughters,” said Kripanand Roopnarine. 

Because of new legislation which challenges the legality of giving minors life sentences, Schafer will get to go before a judge in 25 years to the day from Friday’s sentencing, to make a case for his release. 

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