BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - After a gruesome home invasion nearly seven years ago in Beauregard Town on the edge of downtown Baton Rouge, the sole survivor and her family were finally able to close such a painful chapter in their lives Friday.
It happened after the killer, Aramis Jackson, accepted responsibility in exchange for his own life.
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Seven years of heartache came to an end for a grandmother, years after her daughter, Alexandra Engler, was murdered and her granddaughter, Ariana, was shot and left for dead.
"My pain, my grieving, my rage, it's there but as Hillar said, justice has been served," said Bonnie Hunt.
Jackson finally took responsibility for his actions.
"After seven years of intense legal motions, he has agreed and admitted to his actions and acknowledged the strength of the state's case," said District Attorney Hillar Moore.
Jackson pleaded guilty to first-degree murder of Alexandra Engler and attempted first-degree murder of Ariana Engler.
District Judge Tony Marabella sentenced Jackson to life in prison for first-degree murder and 50 years confined to hard labor correction center for attempted first-degree murder. Both sentences will run simultaneously to each other.
"This plea is a bittersweet moment. The death penalty would be appropriate for this defendant under these horrible facts. Maybe the death penalty would have been an easier choice for the defendant," Moore added.
The lone survivor, Adriana, now 16 years old, stood with everyone who was there for her the moment the shooting happened - police officers, emergency responders, detectives, attorneys and her family.
"It breaks my heart this has had to happen to Ariana. I try to do the best I can and love her 'til the end of the world," Hunt explained.
Hunt is Ariana's grandmother and Alexandra's mother. She and other family members requested that Jackson's life be spared. A trial was scheduled for July, but the family wanted to avoid decades' worth of legal battles. This decision would allow the family to start healing.
"We are going to move on from here now and without this cloud hanging over because to have a trial and basically re-victimize Ariana...not acceptable, not acceptable," Hunt said.
It was a decision that provided closure to a family that waited so long for justice to be served.
Ariana has had six surgeries since 2010 and she said even though she can't play certain sports, she's doing fine.