MARTINEZ -- The mother of Arnold Muckleroy's 5-year-old daughter stood in court Friday morning, fighting to keep her composure as she faced the man who shot the aspiring Antioch rapper to death during a drug deal gone wrong.
"I don't know how to feel. ... If you have the opportunity to make a family for yourself, I hope that you don't put your children in this situation," she said, crying as her daughter -- 2 when her father died -- looked on from a courtroom seat.
"It's just so unfortunate. I don't have strong hatred toward you, I feel like I should hate you more, but I don't."
Moments later, Judge Mary Ann O'Malley sentenced Michael Pulliam-Banks, 22, to serve the maximum 14 years in state prison for the Dec. 20, 2010, shooting of Muckleroy while the pair sat inside a car on Rockspring Way in Antioch. Prosecutors sought murder and robbery charges against Pulliam-Banks, but a jury convicted him only on an involuntary manslaughter charge, with a firearm enhancement. Attorney Joseph Tully successfully argued that Pulliam-Banks did not intend to fire the fatal shot during the marijuana transaction.
O'Malley stopped him short when Tully referred to the shooting as an "accident" during the sentencing hearing Friday.
"It wasn't an accident, so let's get that clear," the judge said. "Killing in a drug deal is not an accident."
After shooting Muckleroy, Pulliam-Banks pushed him out of the car before driving away. Muckleroy died the next day.
Pulliam-Banks was immediately identified as a suspect but evaded capture for five months while three other suspects were arrested on lesser charges.
Tully emphasized that his client had no previous criminal record, and that his mother had been shot in the head when he was a boy and was thereafter cared for by relatives.
"He's not a violent person; he's a loving person," Tully said.
Pulliam-Banks read a brief statement during Friday's hearing.
"There are no words to express my regret and remorse," he said, while he sat wearing a white sweater and black-rimmed glasses. "I never intended to take the life of Arnold Muckleroy ... I am truly and deeply sorry."
Prosecutor Dominique Yancey said the defendant lived two lives -- one with his family, another on the streets.
"He lived this drug life," she said.
Contact Matthias Gafni at 925-952-5026. Follow him at Twitter.com/mgafni.