CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The man accused of shooting six people in a classroom at UNC Charlotte this Spring will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Trystan Terrell, 22, admitted to killing two of the students and injuring four others on April 30 in a campus shooting. A judge sentenced the shooter to life in prison without parole.
In court Thursday, Terrell said he had "consumed substances" in April, and said that he understood the maximum penalty he could receive for his crimes is death.
Terrell’s defense attorney said he had been diagnosed with autism and that the death penalty would have been cruel and unusual punishment given his disability.
His father was in court. Prosecutors said Terrell did not tell his dad he withdrew from classes at UNCC before the shooting and that every day he kept going about his routine, pretending to go to class.
Police say Terrell went into Kennedy Hall that day armed with a pistol and opened fire in a small classroom, killing Reed Parlier, Riley Howell, and injuring Emily Houpt, Sean DeHart, Rami Alramadhan and Drew Pescaro.
Reed Parlier's mother, Julie Parlier, spoke to Terrell following the plea, saying "may you rot in hell and experience torture everyday until you're dead."
"He is a murderer, and there will be no mercy where he goes," Riley Howell's mother, Natalie Howell, said to courtroom.
The prosecutor said following the incident, the police sergeant who arrived at the scene thought Terrell was a victim because he was laying on floor. When the sergeant asked "who was the shooter here?” Terrell responded “I was.”
Terrell was taken into custody immediately following the shooting and brought to CMPD headquarters to be interviewed.
He was later charged with two counts of murder, four counts of attempted murder, four counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, possession of a firearm on educational property, and discharging a firearm on educational property.
When investigators asked Terrell why he did it, he told them he was frustrated that he was in debt and that he had borrowed thousands of dollars for college, said shooting was a “cry for help.” Terrell said he became interested in shootings, and had been planning since August of 2018.
“I am so sorry. I made a mistake," he told the courtroom.
UNC Charlotte released a statement following the sentencing saying that it "allows our community to continue healing and brings a definite end to the criminal proceedings."
The school says the Niner Nation Remembrance Commission is continuing to ask for input on how to best remember the tragic event and memorialize the lives lost. The committe is holding an open meeting at 6 p.m. in room 204 at UNC Charlotte City Center Lecture Hall this evening. All are welcome to attend.
"We will never forget this tragic event, and remain focused on honoring the victims and their families."