Cuyahoga County

Geoffrey Gurkovich sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 26 years for killing 5-year-old Jermani Brooks


CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Noni Brooks clutched multi-colored poster boards celebrating her daughter Jermani.

She needed Judge Ronald Suster to see her little fashionista's sparkly existence in order for him to understand the hole that Jermani's murder last January has left for her family, classmates and community.

Jermani smiled out from her preschool picture and cuddled in snapshots with her older and younger brothers.

One photo showed the 5-year-old in her casket, wearing a tiara and a dress to match a favorite doll she was buried with.

Above her body, a sign read, "The Princess Sleeps Here."

"A person that can do something like what he did to us...he has hurt this family, forever, forever...and I feel like he deserves to be gone forever," Brooks told Suster, a visiting judge handling the case.

Her son, 10-year-old Cameron DelValle, who witnessed the shooting, clung by her side, wiping tears from his face as his mother recounted the pain in their lives that will never cease.

Geoffrey Gurkovich, 33, admitted in November to killing Jermani and shooting her mother, who is now blind in her right eye.

Gurkovich told Suster that Brooks was right, "I deserve everything you are going to give me and more," he said, wiping tears on the shoulder of his orange jail shirt. "If I could take my life and bring her back I would do it 100 times over," he said.

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