Three men received life sentences -- plus decades of additional prison time -- Friday following their December convictions in the "revenge" slaying of a 7-year-old girl.
Authorities in Shelby County, Tenn., said defendants Carlos Stokes, 25; Jordon Clayton, 24; and Branden Brookins, 22, killed Kirsten Williams as she was playing with a friend and a sibling in the front yard of a Memphis home in April 2015.
Prosecutors said Stokes wanted revenge for the death of his sister, Cateria Stokes, 15, who was killed earlier the same day in a drive-by shooting linked to an ongoing dispute over a 2014 drug deal gone wrong, the Commercial Appeal reported.
"They were hunting this girl, basically," Judge James Lammey said, according to the newspaper.
Lammey asked the men why they didn’t first try to help law enforcement find out who was responsible for Cateria Stokes’ death and bring them to justice.
The murder of Stokes’ sister remains unsolved, with very few leads, Fox 13 reported.
A fourth man, identified as Carl Johnson, also faces charges in connection with the case, the station reported.
The slayings of two young girls just hours apart drew a public outcry in Memphis, the Commercial Appeal reported.
Former Mayor A.C. Wharton called the slayings "a heart-crushing tragedy for the families involved and for this entire city."