"If I could go back and change that night, I wouldn't hesitate. I am forever sorry," Joseph Ornelas said during his sentencing.
FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- It was a rare moment in court Tuesday as an emotional mother and father forgave their son's killer.
Lee Edward Major Jr. and Latasha Williams lost their son, Lee Major III, nearly four years ago to the day.
The 20-year-old was a star athlete and a starting football player at Fresno High School who wore the number four.
He was also a new father to a baby boy.
The chance to see his son grow up was taken away when Major III was shot to death at a Fowler house party.
Now, Leguris Major strives to carry on his brother's legacy.
"We're a year apart, so we were very close. We did everything together. Not having him here no more it hurts. I play football now, so now I wear his number. You know, he lives through me. It's hard," said Leguris.
Investigators say the party on Sixth Street and Adams Ave turned violent when a few people asked then-20-year-old Joseph Ornelas to leave.
Ornelas pulled out a gun and began shooting, killing Major III and injuring two other men.
Court documents show prosecutors charged Ornelas with murder, attempted murder, and assault with a firearm.
He was facing 40 years or more in prison but pleaded no contest to second-degree murder.
During Tuesday's sentencing, Ornelas apologized for the pain he's caused.
"I want you to know that I take full responsibility for my decisions that night. If I could go back and change that night, I wouldn't hesitate. I am forever sorry," said Ornelas.
Major Jr. told Action News that the defendant's words were 'touching.'
"...I forgive this guy right here. It's hard for me to say his name, but you know what? Thank you for making me a better man. Since that day, I learned compassion," Major Jr. said in court.
Ornelas will now spend 19 years to life in prison.