Ralph Stanley Elrod Jr. instead pleaded guilty to murder charges, and he will spend life in prison, according to the local news outlet.
In the Nov. 6, 2016, dashcam video, deputies were speaking to him after he allegedly threatened to shoot neighbors riding motorbikes near his home. Officials said they got cellphone video footage showing that he threatened his neighbors, although he denied the allegations.
“You took what you felt was your authority out in the road, and you told that man that you’re gonna kill him,” Soldron said, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “They had a video going, and that’s terrible for you.”
“Just so you know, you’re under arrest,” Sgt. Patrick Sondron told Elrod in the video. “No, I’m not,” Elrod said.
Then Elrod pulled a gun from his waistband and opened fire, hitting Sondron and another Peach County Sheriff’s deputy, Daryl Smallwood. Both died in the shooting, WSB reported.
Elrod could be seen coming back outside with two rifles and a bulletproof vest. He fired several shots at officers who arrived for backup.
In the video, Elrod can be seen surrendering. “I’m down! I’m down! I’m down!” Elrod said after he was injured.
During the trial, District Attorney David Cooke said that Elrod deserved the death penalty. But he was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole as well as 100 years extra in prison.
WSB reported that the deputies’ families didn’t want to see the dashcam footage.
“With his guilty plea, his chances for appeal are nearly nonexistent as compared with the decades of appellate hearings that would have followed a death sentence,” Cooke said. “He’s not going to have teams of law students fighting for his freedom. No one will light a candle on the night of his death in protest. He’ll die quietly in prison, alone.”
He added, “Those who intentionally take the lives of law enforcement officers who are peaceably and lawfully carrying out their sworn duty to protect the public should expect to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and to face the ultimate penalty.”
“Patrick was a dedicated public servant, a respected partner to others in law enforcement, and was known to be kind and level-headed,” an online obituary for Sondron stated. “A well-loved friend to many, he was described as a true ambassador for Peach County. Above all else, he was a devoted husband and father who loved spending time with the family he adored.”
“He was always listening to music and enjoyed riding his Harley motorcycle,” an obituary for Smallwood said, according to the AJC. “He was a simple man, easy going, and loved being a great father to his children.”
Other details about the incident are not clear.
There was speculation that he would be executed.
The local DA’s office told The Macon Telegraph that “this was all about doing right by the family members” of the slain deputies. “How do we take the best care of those who lost the most?” Cooke said. “How do we do right by them?”