The man accused of killing two Cobb County sheriff's deputies will spend the rest of his life in prison after pleading guilty to murder charges in superior court Thursday morning.
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Christopher Patrick Golden, 30, entered a negotiated guilty plea for the murder of Jonathan Randall Koleski, 42, and Marshall Samuel Ervin Jr., 38. on September 8 as the deputies were attempting to serve an arrest warrant on Golden's uncle.
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Channel 2′s Michael Seiden was the only reporter in the courtroom as Golden learned his fate.
Thursday's hearing was initially scheduled for an arraignment, so some were surprised about the guilty plea. Prosecutors also revealed that they would not be pursuing the death penalty, but after consulting with family members, they agreed to proceed with the maximum sentence.
Both families agreed to the plea deal, which would save them from multiple hearings and appeals that are common with death penalty cases.
Superior Court Judge Julie Adams heard victim impact statements from family members before accepting Golden's guilty plea, sentencing him to serve two consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole plus 55 years.
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Golden kept his head down, showing no emotion as he listened to the victims' families talk about their loved ones.
"Growing up, my brother was my hero," Megan Barrios, Koleski's sister, said. "John was the oldest of five children. He protected all of us. He even joined the Army and protected this country. That's just what he was. A protector."
A victim's advocate read a statement from Ervin's wife.
"I hope that if he is able to feel guilt, that it consumes him until the day he dies because he is a destroyer of lives. He deserves all the misery God will allow him until his very last breath."
Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Jason Saliba described the moment the officers were shot that night.
"At least 12 rifle shots come through the front windows," Saliba said. "The second or third shot hit Deputy Koleski in the groin and hip area. He later succumbs to that wound. The eighth shot hits Deputy Irving in the head and he is immediately incapacitated and dies from his wound."
Golden declined to make a statement before being led away by deputies in shackles.
Sheriff's deputies packed the courtroom in support of their fallen brothers.