A 24-year-old Ethiopian national who tried to shoot his former girlfriend, her friends and then himself will spend the remainder of his life in prison, a judge ruled Wednesday.
County Judge Wayne Miller said only that a life sentence was appropriate for the crime. Asefa declined to make a statement when Miller asked if he had anything to say.
In April, a Key West jury deliberated for about an hour and 10 minutes before finding Mikyas Asefa guilty on all counts -- three charges of attempted murder and burglary of a dwelling while armed with a firearm.
Assistant Public Defender Trish Docherty asked Miller for a 10-year sentence, citing Asefa's only prior brush with the law being a misdemeanor reckless driving charge, that he was remorseful and that his life in America was effectively over because he would be deported back to Ethiopia after completing a lesser sentence.
Asefa entered this country as a refugee three years before committing the crimes.
Chief Assistant State Attorney Manny Madruga countered that had Asefa been successful in the killings, it would have been the biggest loss of life due to criminal behavior in Monroe County history.
Asefa first tried to shoot his former girlfriend, Galina Arsemi of Moldova, at the CVS pharmacy on Truman Avenue in May 2009, then tried to shoot himself.
Failing that, he went to the Packer Street home of Elena Fyodorova, and tried to fire the gun at her, police said. Asefa again turned the gun on himself, but it again malfunctioned.
Arsemi had broken off her relationship with Asefa two weeks before the shooting attempts, and he blamed her and her friends, Fyodorova told The Citizen at the time.