The sentencing was part of a plea deal reached between Harris’s attorney, Thomas Carmichael, and the Walker County District Attorney’s Office, represented by assistant DA Bryan Warren.
Bennett’s mother, Tracey Bennett, said she feels like 25 years is acceptable.
“I’m not going to be happy with any amount because he took my son’s life, but it’s a good amount,” she said.
As part of the plea deal, Harris waived any right to appeal the sentencing.
Harris turned himself in to Jasper Police on Jan. 4, 2009, for the shooting death of Bennett.
At the sentencing on Tuesday, Warren said the evidence would have shown that Harris shot Bennett multiple times after a car chase that started near the intersection of 4th Street West and U.S. Highway 118 and ended at the 1400 block of 21st Street in Jasper. The incident occurred on Dec. 21, 2008.
According to news reports in 2008, Jasper Police officers found Bennett, 22, lying on the road when they responded to the emergency call. He was pronounced dead upon arrival at Walker Baptist Medical Center.
Warren said the incident stemmed from an altercation between Harris and Bennett about a woman, who was in Bennett’s vehicle during the chase.
Walker County District Attorney Bill Adair commended Warren, who was able to find two witnesses to the incident.
Both Warren and Adair thanked the witnesses for having the courage to come forward.
“Public assistance in these cases is invaluable,” Adair said.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Harris was also sentenced to 10 years for a charge of receiving stolen property — a .40 caliber handgun used in the shooting. Harris will serve the two sentences concurrently, meaning both at the same time.
After the hearing, Tracey Bennett said her family is eager to get closure on the matter and to begin to remember her son for how he lived his life.
“I just want everyone to know he was a great kid,” she said. “He was always cracking jokes and making us laugh.”