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'We got justice' | Brownsburg mom relieved as 1st of 4 suspects in son's murder sentenced

A Brownsburg mother is feeling relief for the first time in months after a man convicted of killing her son was sentenced.

BROWNSBURG, Ind. — For the first time in a long time, Tonya Hegwood got some sleep Monday night, after getting her first taste of justice in a Hendricks County courtroom on Monday.

Seventeen-year-old Antonio Lane was sentenced to 130 years in prison for shooting and killing Hegwood's son, Darnell, back in 2020, as kids got off a school bus nearby.

"God willing, he will die behind those bars," said Hegwood.

Lane is the first of four teens charged in the murder to be convicted and sentenced. It is an outcome Hegwood fought for, spending months on social media to help investigators track them down.

"I don't feel like he should get to live any type of free life. He followed my son for 20 minutes and hunted him down. At any point, that could have been changed," said Hegwood. 

While there was relief in the courtroom as Lane was sentenced, Hegwood said it doesn't take away the emptiness Darnell's absence has left in her heart.

Credit: Hendricks County Sheriff's Office
After investigating for nearly six months, police took 16-year-old Antonio Lane into custody. He is charged with murder, attempted murder, and criminal recklessness.

"He needs to be thankful. His mom still gets to hug him. His mom still gets to kiss him. His mom still gets to see his face, talk to him and feel his embrace. Those are things I don't get. I've been limited to holding and smelling my son's clothes and kissing an urn good day," said Hegwood.

Now, Hegwood's gearing up for the potential of an appeal and another legal battle, if necessary.

RELATED: Mother's persistence may have led to arrests in son's murder in Brownsburg

"I'm sure he will try to appeal. I will be at every hearing, appeal, parole, whatever it is. He will see he made a choice that took my son's life, but in a sense, it took his life," said Hegwood.

She said the road to justice has been exhausting, but she's using this first victory as fuel to keep moving forward.

Credit: Tonya Hegwood
Darnell Hegwood

"Darnell, momma's always got your back, as always. I was your biggest advocate in life. I am your biggest advocate in death. We got justice," said Hegwood.

Three other teens, 18-year-old Tyreontay Jackson and 17-year-olds Kamarion Moody and Jeremy Perez, were later arrested for their roles in the shooting. 

The four teens faced a variety of charges including murder, attempted murder, and two counts of criminal recklessness for shooting a firearm into a building.

Moody appeared in court Tuesday, but his jury trial was rescheduled to start March 21, 2022. Jackson's jury trial is set to begin March 29, 2022, and Perez's is scheduled for May 10, 2022.

Credit: Hendricks County Sheriff's Office
From left, Antonio Lane, 16; Jeremy Perez, 17; Kamarion Moody, 17; Tyreontay Jackson, 18, have all been charged with murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Freddie Hegwood II.

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