Lee Cration shot Ralph Elliot outside a Popeye's restaurant as Elliot was loading food into his car to take to a holiday celebration.
Judge James Linn sentenced Lee Cration to natural life in prison for the murder.
As Cration is sent back to prison, the victim's family hopes to return the focus to Ralph Elliott and the work he did in the community.
"It's a bitter-sweet pill for a violent, senseless murder," said his wife, Dolores Elliott. "Justice was done today.Theres no joy in today. It's just justice for a man who also lost. For him to stay in prison the rest of his life is where he belongs."
Elliott was a retired State employee active in his church and community including the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
On Christmas Eve 2009 surveillance video showed Elliott leaving a restaurant with an order for the family's annual gathering. Prosecutors showed the video during the trial of Elliott is confronted, shot twice and searched.
Relatives say he was carrying three hundred dollars at the time of his murder and would have given the money if he'd been asked.
"The defendent essentially cornered him and almost instantly shot him, and basically Mr. Elliott had no chance to give him money if he even asked for money," said Cook County assistant state's attorney Barbara Dawkins.
In court, Cration apologized to the family and maintained his innocence.
Linn called Cration a danger and a menace.
Cration interrupted the judge, saying, "There are two sides to every coin." Linn retorted, "It's my time to talk, Lee."
Linn went on to say, "This court has no mercy for you. You have a malignant heart and a soul that is depraved."
After the murder, witnesses came forward to help police find and identify Cration.
On Thursday, Dolores Elliott called those women "earthly angels."
She said the family will continue to give to the community in Ralph Elliott's name. He was a mentor to many, she said.
"We've got to feed the hungry, we've got to feed the poor, we got to do what we have to do," Dolores Elliott said. "And so i'm going to continue my work in my husband's name because I will continuing doing work in the community." Said his nephew Harold Morrison, "We're going to continue as a family, we're going to be strong. Everything she said about my uncle was right on spot. He was a great great man."