After three years of waiting, the family of a St. Stephen man killed in a 2009 shooting watched a judge sentence the gunman to prison this week in a Berkeley County courtroom.

Elijah Mahammid Brown, 42, of St. Stephen, pleaded guilty Thursday to voluntary manslaughter.

Circuit Judge Markley Dennis accepted a negotiated plea and sentenced Brown to 27 years behind bars.

Brown told the court he still has nightmares about the incident that started as a trip to the neighborhood store in Russellville on Nov. 12, 2009.

Brown shot 46-year-old Anthony Alphonso Middleton in the head outside the One Stop at the corner of Russellville Road and S.C. Highway 35, according to investigators.

Brown said he didnít know Middleton. The two got into an argument over shotgun shells used for hunting, according to prosecutors. It escalated into a physical fight before Brown shot Middleton, they said.

ďMy dad didnít deserve to die the way he did,Ē the victimís daughter, Michelle Middleton, said.

She addressed the court and asked Dennis for the maximum sentence he could impose, 30 years under the terms of the negotiated plea. Dennis sentenced Brown to 27 years and gave him credit for the time he has served in jail since his November 2009 arrest.

Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or