Edgar Union Jr. was 22 when he died, struck by a bullet while standing on the porch of his house during a chaotic brawl in 2018.
The person who fired the fatal shot — 18-year-old Natavian Morton — will spend at least 22 years in prison for manslaughter and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
Monday, Lancaster County District Court Judge Lori Maret sentenced Morton to 30 to 40 years for unintentionally killing Union, as well as 15 to 20 years for possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
The sentences will run back-to-back. Morton must serve at least 22 years before he's eligible for parole.
Morton was among more than a dozen people who had gathered outside Union's home in the 3800 block of South 47th Street on March 26, 2018, to continue a fight that started at Lincoln Southeast High School earlier in the day.
The melee started with two sides hurling insults and throwing rocks. A vehicle hit someone in the crowd, causing everyone to scatter. Morton, who had been handed a gun on the way to the house, was urged to shoot.
He fired the gun over the heads of everyone in the crowd, but Union, standing elevated on the porch 29 yards away, was hit by the .45-caliber bullet. It entered his cheek and exited his neck.
Union died at 2:04 p.m.
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Morton's attorney, Mark Rappl, said youth and a lack of steady male influence in the then-16-year-old's life following the shooting death of his father left him incapable of responding to escalating situations in a responsible way.
But the first and only time in his life that he fired a gun, Morton claimed another life.
Monday, Morton said he took full responsibility for Union's death and was remorseful for his actions. He did not look at family members — neither his nor Union's — in the courtroom while he spoke.
"I ask them to forgive me," he said quietly.
Maret said while Morton was young and had no prior criminal record, he made the choice to go to Union's house to continue the fight, to take the gun and to fire it toward where Union was standing.
Whether it was intentional or not, "the fact of the matter is someone lost their life," Maret said.
Morton will serve 45 to 60 years in the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services for Union's death. He won't be eligible for parole until 2041.