A jury convicted 35-year-old Jermaine Deon Ware of Cedartown of killing 16-year-old Rodney Arzes Mitchell Jr. of Rockmart on New Year’s Day 2011.
Officials stated during the trial that the altercation leading to Mitchell’s death was the result of a party prank gone bad.
Ware maintained his innocence during his sentencing hearing.
“I would like to step forward and state my innocence,” Ware told the judge. “I pray. I pray every day for strength, strength for my family. I pray for the persons standing here.”
The jury found Ware guilty of five charges, including malice murder, felony murder and three aggravated assault charges.
Ware received life in prison for the murder charges and the first aggravated assault charge.
The two other aggravated assault charges carried five years for each count. Both sentences are to run concurrently with the life sentence, according to the judge.
Ware was also found guilty of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. That conviction carries a five-year sentence which would also run concurrently with the life sentence.