A Rogers County judge sentenced Marquise White to prison for the murder of a 22-year-old Dakota Rex, who was shot during a home invasion robbery.
White pleaded guilty to the murder and robbery charges, and to assault on a detention officer in jail. His sentence for the murder was life without the possibility of parole.
Dakota was a young father and Rogers State College student. He was with friends, at house in Claremore, when three men burst in, looking for drugs. They didn't find any but stole video game equipment. Dakota, according to witnesses, was trying to push them outside when White shot him in the chest.
Before White was sentenced, the family of Dakota Rex spoke in court, telling of their loss and anger, but also more than once telling the defendant, he was forgiven.
"I felt like he made that direct eye contact. He looked directly at me a few times," said Rex's mother, Stacy McMillen.
Rex's sisters and his father each gave victim impact statements as well.
After the sentencing, they said they remember Dakota as the jokester during family gatherings, and the one young man in a household of three older sisters. Now they often visit his grave, replacing the decorations and say holidays are especially hard.
"I have to leave it in God's hands that he will work on his heart," said McMillen. "That's what my testimony was about today - and forgiveness. Because forgiveness actually gives us freedom."