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3 sentenced in 2011 death of student

Friday - 3/21/2014, 12:10am  ET

Qianne Knox, Alonzo Guyton's fiancee, shows off her commemorative bracelet ouside the courthouse. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. -- Three men convicted in the robbery and murder of a Howard University student who was also a former Marine were sentenced on Thursday.

Before the judge handed down his decision, family and friends of Alonzo Guyton, 24, were allowed to address the court. Guyton's fiancee, Qianne Knox, couldn't hold back the tears as she told the court about their love and Guyton's plan to marry her. "Two years, I haven't gotten over it; I haven't dated anyone since," Knox told the court.

Also in the courtroom were 18 Marines in uniform stood behind Master Gunnery Sgt. Kevin Buckles of the U.S. Marine Corps as he talked about traveling the world with Guyton. Guyton, a sergeant, spent 3 years in the Marine Drum and Bugle Corps. "He was not only a great Marine, great friend, great fiance; he was a great man," Buckles said.

Guyton was approached by Lorenzo Carlton in October 2011 while walking to a friend's home in Mt. Rainier during a robbery. Guyton got into a scuffle with Carlton; then, the prosecution says, Michael Jordan, 22, jumped from a stolen car driven by William Knight, 22, and shot Guyton several times with an SKS assault rifle.

Michael Jordan was sentenced to 95 years in jail for his convictions which included first-degree felony murder. He will be eligible for parole in 47 years. Jordan showed little emotion and turned down his opportunity to address the court before being sentenced.

Lorenzo Carlton's convictions included second-degree murder, and he received 74 years in prison with all but 35 years suspended. He will be eligible for parole in 17 years.

Knight was behind the wheel of the stolen vehicle used in the robbery and the murder. Knight's mother, Deborah, cried while asking the court to show some mercy on her son: "My son is a good person," she said.

She claimed that Knight's biological father was partly to blame for Knight's downfall, after he "abandoned all the children."

Then Knight addressed the court. Reading from a statement, he said, "I did not kill or wish death upon Alonzo. I was only driving." He also turned to Guyton's family and fiancee, apologizing to them for his role in the murder.

Knight was sentenced to 33 years in prison, but 10 years were suspended. He will be eligible for parole in 12 years.

Prince George's County State's Attorney Angela Alsobrooks says justice was served in this case. "This was so senseless that this Marine, this student, had his life taken for no reason whatsoever," Alsobrooks said. "Our victim can never be brought back to his family, and these young men have destroyed their lives as well."

After the sentencing, Knox said she also feels justice was served. "We were not essentially looking for this to be closure, but to know our justice system will not fail us," Knox said. She says this outcome could have been avoided: "If they wanted money ... if they would have just asked, more than likely he would have given it to them."

As for the apology from Knight, Knox says, "William Knight did ask for forgiveness and I told him thank you, and I do forgive him because that's what God teaches us -- to forgive each other."

She says one thing that haunts her is that "the last thing [Guyton] texted me is 'I love you' and unfortunately I was sleeping and never got the chance to say I love you back." But she says in her heart she knows he already knew that.

Now she says she tries to remember the good times. "I think of him on the drum set, playing the drums with a big old Kool-Aid smile just with mad chops."

To court, she wore a jersey that read "Alonzo's Girl #15," and she also had a bracelet with Alonzo's name and the number 15. She says it was Guyton's favorite number.

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