PITT COUNTY -

With the death penalty taken off the table at the request of the victims' families, James Richardson gets life without parole.

The district attorney says, while it's ultimately his call, the families don't want another family to suffer the pain of losing a son or brother.

Richardson spoke before the sentence was announced, and maintained his innocence.

A jury of two men and 10 women found Richardson to be guilty in the June 30, 2009, shooting deaths of bystanders Landon Blackley and Andrew Kirby on a downtown Greenville street.

The verdict came in just after 2:40 p.m. Wednesday; the judge started with the counts of discharging a firearm into an occupied building. Then he ready off the verdicts in the deaths of Kirby and Blackley.

After the verdict reading was complete, members of the victims' families started to cry. Some members of Richardson's family also started to cry, while he showed little emotion. Shortly thereafter, Richardson began to shed tears.

In addition to the two life sentences Richardson got for allegedly killing Blackley and Kirby, he also got 25 to 39 months for one count of discharging a firearm and 73 to 97 months for the other count of discharging a firearm.