KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — One defendant has received a life sentence and his two co-defendants have been given prison terms of more than 100 years each for their roles in the 2015 death of a teenage football player in Tennessee who shielded friends from gunfire.

Knox County Criminal Court Judge Steven Sword sentenced Christopher Drone Bassett to life plus 35 years on Friday. Bassett had faced an automatic life sentence required under Tennessee law after being found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of 15-year-old Zaevion Dobson. Sword sentenced Richard Gregory Williams III to 143 years and Kipling Deshawn Colbert to 109 years.

A jury convicted Bassett of first-degree murder on Dec. 14 and found Williams and Colbert guilty of facilitating the shooting.

Dobson’s act of bravery drew praise from then-President Barack Obama.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.