MARTINEZ -- Ben Merrill was fun-loving and trusted people. Tragically, those attributes ultimately led to his death, the San Francisco man's family said Friday at the sentencing for two women convicted of killing the 22-year-old at the Pittsburg marina in 2009.

Kiarra Price, 24, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, and her ex-girlfriend, Teareney Brown, 24, was sentenced to 14 years and eight months in prison, on Friday for fatally shooting Merrill on Nov. 3, 2009.

Merrill, a Seattle-area native, had spent the night drinking with friends in the San Francisco Mission District and was walking three blocks from his home when he accepted the women's invitation to party, according to trial testimony. They drove him to Pittsburg, where Price robbed him of his iPhone and wallet and then shot him dead.

Ben Merrill
Ben Merrill (Family photograph)

"He would have found some good in you guys and acknowledged it," the victim's father, Peter Merrill, told the defendants. "He would have never hurt you. We need more people like him and less people like you in the world."

Dozens of people in support of the victim and the defendants packed into Judge Charles Burch's courtroom, where the Merrill family shared their pain over losing the young man who was working as a waiter at popular Buena Vista Cafe at Fisherman's Wharf while he saved money to go to pilot's school. He was loyal, gentle-hearted, spirited and curious, his mother, Pamela Merrill White, said.

"It still doesn't feel real at times," Sam Merrill said of his older brother's death.

Neither Brown nor Price made a statement at the sentencing. Price was convicted by a Contra Costa County jury in October of first-degree murder and robbery. Brown took a deal from prosecutors, and shortly after Price's trial pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter, kidnapping and robbery.

A third woman, 25-year-old Kendra Fells, also took a plea deal and is serving a 15-year sentence. It was Fells' gun that Price used to kill Merrill, according to prosecutor John Cope. Price and Brown fetched Fells and her gun before driving an intoxicated Merrill to the Pittsburg marina.

At trial, Price's attorney argued that the evidence indicated that Fells was the real shooter.

Contact Malaika Fraley at 925-234-1684. Follow her at Twitter.com/malaikafraley.