Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The man who killed Forest Acres Police Officer Greg Alia will spend life in prison without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty to the crime.
Jarvis Hall, 36, appeared in a Columbia courtroom Tuesday morning, where he admitted to killing the officer, as well as a list of other charges from Richland and Lexington County, including armed robbery.
Hall also waives any right to appeal as part of the deal.
He was not supposed to address the court during the hearing, but said he was moved by the words of Alia's widow and family, who offered forgiveness and empathy toward him.'
"I didn't expect that," he said. "I didn't expect such positive statements. I don't think if I was in their shoes I would have been so positive."
"I just want to apologize from my own mouth that I'm sorry for their loss."
Back on September 30, 2015, Alia, who was 32 years old, and two other officers responded to a call of a suspicious person at the Richland Mall just before 8 a.m. Wednesday. When officers arrived, Hall ran from them. Alia caught up with him near the mall's bookstore, and the two began struggling. At that point, Hall pulled out a Glock .40 caliber handgun and killed Alia.
A short time later, officers were able to subdue Hall and take him into custody. The warrant says Hall left his identification card at scene, which helped them quickly confirm his identity.
SLED agents the gun Hall used had been stolen back on September 2. Hall had previously been arrested by the Columbia Police Department in late August on a misdemeanor charge of failure to comply.
Alia was a seven-year veteran of the Forest Acres Police Department. He grew up in the Columbia area, and was a graduate of Richland Northeast High School and the University of South Carolina.
He and and his widow, Kassy, had a young son together, named Sal, who turned six months old on the day of his father's death. He's now two years old.
"From the moment I met Greg, he changed my life," Kassy told the court before sentencing. "He brought me so much joy, so much strength. Loving him made me a better person."
She said preparing to speak at the hearing was one of the most miserable experiences of her life, but she wanted her son to be able to go back and hear and see her words years later.
"I hope he never has to know this pain," she said. "I hope that he never feels retribution or vengeance. I want him to be able to find love in his heart and redirect any pain he may fell toward helping others."
Since Officer Alia's death, Kassy has become an advocate for officers, beginning a organization called "Heroes in Blue."
The organization's mission is to promote officers' relationships with the community and help support any other families who lose a loved one in the line of duty.