ORLANDO, Fla. - A 17-year-old boy on Wednesday was sentenced to three years in prison for the accidental killing of his teenage nephew earlier this year.
Freedom High School student Justin Machado was fatally shot in January, and his uncle and his best friend were charged in the case four months later.
Thursday would have been Machado's 18th birthday.
Instead of preparing for a celebration, his family spent Wednesday in court as his accused killer was sentenced.
"I want to thank you, Jay, for giving me the best 17 years of my life," said Amaury Machado, Justin Machado's father.
Justin Machado once played on his school's baseball team.
"Unfortunately, you were not around to get the phone call I did of a recruiting service advising 11 colleges were interested because of your baseball offering scholarships," Amaury Machado said.
He said he received the call two weeks after his son's death at their Lynchburg Court home.
Mandy Machado, Justin Machado's uncle, pleaded guilty to manslaughter with a firearm, destruction of evidence and lying to investigators Wednesday.
"Justice is not really served at this point. But no justice is going to bring my son back," Amaury Machado said.
Investigators said Mandy Machado didn't know the gun was loaded when he pointed it at his nephew.
They said Mandy Machado and Justin Machado's close friend, Joswanny Cepeda, tried to cover up the shooting by saying it was gang- or drug-related, which is untrue.
"To me, this is a menace to society, a sociopath," Amaury Machado said.
Cepeda is still going through the legal process in juvenile court.
“I want to thank you Jay for giving me the best 17 years of my life," Justin Machado's father told a packed courtroom today. "See you later champ, as you will forever be my champ."— Samantha Manning (@SamanthaWFTV) October 11, 2018
The 17-year-old was shot... https://t.co/xC3kDWYmYR
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