COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Judge William C. Rumer sentenced Markel Ervin today after the Columbus court heard impassioned statements from Destinee Virgin’s mother, who told the judge Ervin didn’t deserve the possibility of parole. Despite this, Ervin was sentenced to serve a minimum of 30 years for the multiple charges he faced, which included malice murder and kidnapping.
In addition to this, Ervin must serve another five years that cannot be concurrent with any other charges. The five years must be served separately, bringing the minimum sentence to 35 years. Ervin accepted a guilty plea deal from District Attorney Mark Jones that gives him a chance for parole in 30 years.
In her statement to the court, Mechelle Virgin spoke for her daughter, calling on Judge Rumer to sentence Ervin to life without the possibility of parole.
“He murdered my baby like she was an animal,” Mechelle Virgin said.
While addressing Judge Rumer, Virgin looked at and directly addressed Ervin several times during her statement.
“He chased her down,” Mechelle Virgin told the court, “and I watched the video, sir, I watched my child scream out for help.”
The mother listed the number of times she tried to stop Ervin from harming her child, describing him as a menace.
“She was a silent victim,” Mechelle Virgin told the court, “and it hurts me so bad that I couldn’t save her even though I tried so hard.”
Mechelle Virgin told the court the death penalty was too good for Ervin.
Mechelle Virgin also called out District Attorney Mark Jones twice. She said Jones never told her about the plea deal and that Jones knew she had concerns regarding a plea deal with the possibility for parole. Jones had previously said Mechelle Virgin was aware of the plea deal before Ervin accepted it.
Felicia Virgin, Destinee Virgin’s grandmother, also addressed the court. Felicia Virgin said Ervin stalked, threatened and abused her granddaughter. At one point during the grandmother’s testimony, as she recounted how Ervin’s family would pretend not to know where Ervin was when Mechelle Virgin searched for her daughter, the family burst into tears.
Felicia Virgin said Ervin did not deserve the chance to get out of prison and called on Judge Rumer to impose the maximum sentence allowed by law.
Despite the calls on Judge Rumer to not allow Ervin the possibility for parole the plea deal went through and Ervin will now have the opportunity to receive parole after 30 years.
Michael Eddings, Ervin’s attorney, said he believes the sentence is fair.
“I feel that given the totality of the circumstances, it was a fair outcome,” said Eddings. “It’s a definite conviction for the state. He’s going to spend the next 35 years in prison for this particular crime. He admitted to the crime and so the punishment is fitting based on his admission to this crime.”
Mechelle Virgin said although it’s not the outcome she wanted, she is glad her child is receiving some form of justice.
“I’m not going to say I’m exactly pleased, but I am glad that she was able to receive some type of justice,” said Virgin. “I’m going to hold on to hope that the possibility be just that, a possibility. And that he’s never going to see the light of day again.”
Assistant District Attorney Breanna Foster said she believes this is a win, and that because of Ervin’s previous crimes, there’s a good chance he won’t receive parole when his 30 years are up.