Columbia, SC (WLTX) – A former trooper was sentenced Tuesday for shooting an unarmed man back in 2014.
Sean Groubert shot Levar Jones on September 4, 2014, outside a Circle K gas station on Broad River Road in Columbia. The then trooper said he stopped Jones for a seat belt violation.
"I screwed up, plain and simple," Groubert told Jones directly in court. "I pray that one day you'll be able to find peace with this and forgive me."
Circuit Court Judge Casey Manning said Groubert was sentenced to 12 years, suspended upon service of five years, and three years probation with credit for time served. In short, Groubert will serve five years total and will get credit for the 17 months he's already spent behind bars.
He would then have the probation after getting out of prison, whenever that occurs.
“We feel bad. Both sides have suffered greatly and we just want it to be over so people can start healing, get their lives back,” the trooper’s mother, Janet Groubert told News 19 after the sentencing.
The trooper’s mother said the whole ordeal has been stressful.
“I’m still numb,” she said. “We’re sorry it happened. Sean said it all, we’re very sorry it happened."
“It was horrible. Period. It wasn’t fair,” Cherelle Moss said.
Moss said she has known Jones for three years. She said Groubert should have got a 20-year sentence.
"It’s been done, nothing at this point can make it right, you know,” Moss said passionately.