By Sara Belsole
COLUMBUS, GA - For the families of 20-year-old Brian Kilgore and 21-year-old Randy Newton, Jr., Friday was filled with tears and embraces.
30-year-old Michael Registe pleaded guilty to murdering both boys execution style in 2007.
"Thank God that this day is over," Netwon, Jr.'s Aunt, Mary Ingram, says.
Registe was sentenced to two life sentences to be served simultaneously.
"We are disappointed that we lost legally, not speaking factually because he admitted his guilt, but legally we should have successfully won but this was the best deal we could get," Registe's Defense Attorney Manny Arora says.
Friday ended an almost six year saga for the families. Kilgore and Newton, Jr. were shot in the head outside an apartment complex on Steam Mill Road in July 2007.
Police used cell phone records to identify Registe as a suspect. Prosecutors said in court Friday they found trace blood, clothing and the murder weapon in the cars and locations Registe was in after the murder.
Registe fled the country and after a year-long manhunt was located in the St. Maarten.
Registe was not eligible for the death penalty because St. Marteen would not extradite him back to the United States unless the State took the death penalty off the table.
The Georgia Supreme Court ruled in favor of the State twice, once confirming a conflict of interest for his first attorney, Stacey Jackson, and once on Registe's cell phone records.
"Once that happened the evidence was very strong against us and so this was the best we could do with the charges against him," Arora says.
Brian Kilgore's father addressed Registe before his sentencing. Registe kept his head down as Kilgore recalled the phone call he received that July night, telling Registe "God will deal with you one day."
Registe did speak to the court, saying "I am sorry for your loss and my actions and I hope one day you can forgive me."
Both families say they will continue to keep the memories of the boys alive.
"Randy was a very loving kind young man. Just had turned 21 and had a short life, quickly," Ingram says.
Because Registe was arrested prior to new laws, he will be eligible for parole in thirty years.