Ryan Deleston sentenced to life in prison for Marley Lion's murder
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Ryan Deleston was sentenced to life in prison without parole after being found guilty of the murder of 17-year-old Marley Lion.
The jury rendered its verdict after two hours of deliberation on Friday. Lion's mother, Elizabeth Paige, addressed the courtroom just before the sentencing and asked that Deleston be punished with the maximum sentence.
She says throughout the weeklong trial, there were a few times she thought Deleston might not be convicted.
Deleston was also found guilty of attempted armed robbery and possession of a firearm during a violent crime and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number.
Prosecutors called 30 witnesses during the trial, while the defense called none. Deleston did not testify.
During closing arguments Friday afternoon, Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said Deleston killed Lion, while public defender Ashley Pennington says co-defendant Bryan Rivers shot Lion.
One piece of evidence jurors considered was a video of an interview done with Deleston on the day of his arrest. In the video, which lasts more than four hours, Deleston gets grilled by Charleston police detectives. At first, Deleston denies he was in the Savannah Highway shopping center where Lion was shot and killed during a robbery attempt.
Later on, Deleston admits he was there, but says it was co-defendant Bryan Rivers who killed Lion. At the end of the interview, Deleston writes a letter to Lion's parents, apologizing for what happened, but he maintains it was Rivers who committed the murder.
Also in the video, which is laced with profanity, a detective tells Deleston that others have identified him as the shooter. The video also shows Deleston telling detectives he would look Lion's parents in the eye and tell them he didn't shoot their son.
But Deleston tells the detective that Rivers is the one who pulled the trigger.
All of the suspects in the Lion murder were arrested on July 30 of last year which would have been Lion's 18th birthday.
Rivers has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for testifying against Deleston.
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