NeKeisha Hodges-Hawkins' parents react to her killer's sentencing
MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. - A quest for justice six years in the making is finally over after 22-year-old Charles Gerron was sentenced to 50 years in prison Tuesday afternoon for the murder of then 17-year-old NeKeisha Hodges-Hawkins
Wiping away tears of continued heartbreak, now, NeKeisha's parents finally feel a sliver of relief.
“I’m happy and sad," said her mother, Janice Hodges-Hawkins.
“I’m glad we got justice. It was a long hard fight, like six years of it, so I’m happy," said her father, Kalvon Hawkins.
22-year-old Charles Gerron was sentenced to 50 years in prison Tuesday afternoon for the murder of their daughter.
Gerron shot her to death at a party in Memorial Park on July 24, 2011.
“I don’t even like driving past that place," said Kalvon.
Gerron wasn't charged until December 2016.
“I believe he should have got the full 65 for he showed no remorse at all. They gave him tons of opportunity to say something on his behalf, on our behalf, and he chose not to," said NeKeisha's father.
Her parents say they have nothing to say to the man who changed their lives forever.
Now, as they grip onto her portrait, they say all they have left are their memories.
“It’ll never get easy at all. We try. I know we have to move on with life, but it will never be complete, because that’s like trying to put a puzzle together with a missing piece," said Hawkins.
“I wasn’t going to stop until I got what I got today, and that was justice," he said.
They say they're satisfied with justice since nothing can bring their daughter back.
"I’m thankful for justice, and I just want us to build our family, because we are so broken. We need to be put back together," said Janice.
NeKeisha's parents say they still plan to release balloons on her birthday every year, which is July 28.
They also are thinking about setting up a scholarship in her name at some point in the future.