ST. CHARLES • The triggerman in the Christmas Eve 2010 murder of a former pro football player was sentenced to life in prison on Monday.
Jevone L. Little, 22, of St. John, had pleaded guilty in October to second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Brandon Joyce of St. Charles County during what police said was a drug deal gone bad.
St. Charles County Circuit Judge Jon Cunningham also sentenced Little to 15 years on a charge of armed criminal action; that sentence will run consecutively. He also got a 15-year concurrent sentence for attempting to sell a controlled substance.
“This is a horrendous, senseless and vicious killing,” the judge told Little.
“When you get involved in activity like this and you take a gun with you, horrible things can happen. Your crimes had a devastating effect on a lot of people.”
The judge also sentenced getaway car driver Deveon Cartez Shockley, 23, of St. Louis. He got 20 years in prison on the same three charges.
Two others involved in the crime — 23-year-old twins Cory Brooks of O’Fallon, Mo., and Tory Brooks of St. Charles — were sentenced earlier to 30 years and 20 years, respectively.
Joyce, who was 26, was an offensive lineman at Indiana and Illinois State universities, followed by a brief stint with the Minnesota Vikings. He later played for the Las Vegas Locomotives in the United Football League and was on the Rams’ offseason roster in 2010.
His father, the late Terry Joyce, was a punter for the football Cardinals in the 1970s. He died of brain cancer six months after his son was killed.
Family members have repeatedly expressed their belief that Brandon Joyce was not involved in any drug activity.
Police said the shooting took place in a truck driven by Joyce to the parking lot of the Bass Pro Shop in St. Charles, where they said Joyce was to have bought cocaine from the defendants.
At a hearing Monday, several family members described the wrenching effect of the murder on their lives.
“He was a big man with an even bigger heart and he loved his family,” said Dr. Lindsay Joyce, Brandon Joyce’s sister. “Christmas, a time of year that was joyous, now marks the anniversary of Brandon’s murder, the worst day of my life.”