WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The man accused of killing a convenience store clerk back in 2006 pleaded guilty today. It was the last time Sharod Johnson will be in a room without bars. He was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday without the possibility of parole after admitting to the Dec. 14, 2006, murder of Mohammad Abdelhamid.
Abdelhamid was working at his family-run M&M Mart on the corner of 7th and Ann Streets in Wilmington that morning when a man in a hoodie walked in and asked for help with a shirt. He then robbed Abdelhamid and shot him in the chest. The bullet lodged in a pack of cigarettes behind him. As he fought for his life, the suspect made Abdelhamid reopen the cash register before leaving.
Someone recognized Johnson's face on the news, and weeks later US Marshals arrested the 18-year-old in New York. Johnson, known as "Fluff," told the marshal he was on "boat."
"The defendant said, 'It's angel dust. It's the first time I smoked it. It makes you crazy," assistant district attorney Charity Wilson said. "And the US Marshal had asked is that why the defendant had shot Mohammad, and he had said, 'I told you that stuff makes you crazy.'"
As part of a plea bargain, Johnson chose to admit guilt to avoid the death penalty.
"There are no winners in these cases," Wilson said. "You know the victim in the case, Mohammad, is not coming back. For this defendant's family, their life has been forever changed. They were not a part of this. They did not choose this. They would not choose this for their loved one. If they can go back and do it differently, they would."
After battling lymphoma, 27-year-old Abdelhamid was pronounced cancer-free four months before he was murdered. He was the father of three young children.
"God bless him," said Ayoud Abdelhamid, Mohammad's father. "And I hope he's in a better place than we are now."
Judge Phyllis Gorham asked Johnson if he was guilty, and he said yes. He then turned to Abdelhamid's family and smirked. He also called the officers in court "bird brains" because they would not let him say goodbye to his family. Johnson is now in the custody of the North Carolina Department of Corrections, where he will spend the rest of his life.
Wilson said this is probably one of the most heart-wrenching cases she's ever dealt with. She said watching the surveillance of Abdelhamid getting shot is bone-chilling.