CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A man who murdered a 17-year-old girl after recruiting her to help carry out an armed bank robbery denied committing the crime in an apology to her family Thursday.
Keichaun Newell, 20, was previously found guilty for the murder of Breanna Fluitt, 17.
Prosecutors say Newell and Jeffrey Doss, 23, recruited Fluitt to commit an armed robbery at a Summit County bank in August 2016.
Doss ordered Newell to kill Fluitt after he became worried that Fluitt would implicate them after surveillance video of the robbery was released. She was killed execution-style, and her body was found in a vacant lot in East Cleveland.
The girl's mother, Christina Stribling, asked the judge for the maximum sentence in an emotional plea. She said she fears repercussions every night of what's happened.
"I don't know how to feel toward him but hatred, and I am never the person to have a hateful nature," she said. "I didn't know what it was to hate until I lost my child."
She said no amount of jail time will be sufficient enough for Newell.
"If the death penalty was on the table, I would beg for it," she said. "But since I can't, the only thing I can ask you is for the max."
After her plea, Newell apologized but said he hopes to one day be cleared of the crime.
"Even though I was found guilty by a jury...I do want the family to know...send them my deep apologize for what happened to their loved one," he said. "And let them know I really didn't do this, and one day I hope to be able to prove that."
He was sentenced to 49 years to life in prison.
Newell was found guilty of several charges including aggravated murder, felonious assault, kidnapping, tampering with evidence and theft.
Doss' trial is set to begin Feb. 5.