ST. LOUIS • An Army veteran who was robbed, shot and paralyzed downtown by an ex-con after a Cardinals game last year sat in court Friday as a sad symbol of violence in St. Louis.
“I look at you, and I am hurt for our city,” St. Louis Circuit Judge Jimmie Edwards told victim Christopher Sanna from the bench.
But Sanna, who uses a wheelchair, also gave the judge some hope.
Though his body was destroyed, Edwards said, the heart was not.
Sanna, 45, said in court that he wants to end the cycle of violence by reaching out to his attacker’s children — and even the attacker himself while he’s in prison for decades to come.
“You have the kind of forgiveness that most of us skipped over in morality class,” Edwards said.
The judge was stern when he turned to a man in an orange jail jumpsuit. The defendant had planned to plead guilty in the case earlier this week but backed out because his family wasn’t at that hearing.
“Kilwa Jones, are you going to get through this today or are you going to waste my time?” Edwards asked.
Jones, already ordered to spend 35 years in prison after pleading guilty of federal charges in the holdup-shooting, pleaded guilty Friday of nine separate state charges, including first-degree assault, robbery and armed criminal action.
Edwards sentenced him to a separate 40-year state term, to be served concurrently. That means he will spend 35 years in federal prison and the remaining five in state prison, said Eric Selig, one of the defense attorneys.
Jones, 33, shot Sanna, of House Springs, and robbed his girlfriend, Lisa Marie Simpson, as they walked near the Gateway Arch on Sept. 25, 2015. She was not injured.
Sanna and Simpson had attended a Cardinals game with relatives to celebrate his mother’s 60th birthday. The couple left early because Sanna had to be at work the next day. About 10:30 p.m. they were nearing their car, parked at the Old Cathedral, when Jones jumped out of a stopped car, robbed them and shot Sanna.
In court Friday, both Sanna and Jones spoke of the futility of the shooting.
“His life has been wasted,” Sanna said. “My life has become ridiculous now.”
Sanna said he had $200 in his wallet at the time of the attack that he would have given to Jones.
Said Jones: “I’ll be the first to say this was a very senseless act.”
An unrelated domestic violence case against Jones is pending in St. Louis County. He previously served prison time for an assault in Riverview.
Jamilia Allen, 27, one of five family members and friends who showed up on Jones’ behalf at Friday’s hearing, said he had been out of prison for about one year when the robbery occurred.
“It’s hard because he is my brother, but (Sanna) is paralyzed,” she said. “I am speechless right now because it seems unreal.”