Sansberry sentenced to 20 years in teen shooting

February 3, 2012 4:35:19 PM PST
Robert Sansberry was sentenced to 20 years in prison Friday for the shooting that paralyzed Chicago teenager, Ondelee Perteet.

Perteet and his family have a long and difficult journey ahead of them - with huge challenges - physical, emotional, financial. Today was an important day on the road they're forced to travel. It was an intersection between their demand for justice and their desire to find forgiveness.

Twenty-nine months ago a bullet fired at close range tore through his jaw and penetrated his spine. In an instant, Perteet's life was forever changed.

He is 17 now, a remarkably determined young man who has made incredible strides in his rehabilitation. His dreams are undiminished but his challenges are many.

Today, in the company of his family, Perteet went to court for the sentencing of the young man who shot him.

Sansberry, 18, was ordered to leave a party the night of the shooting, and did, but came back with a gun and Ondelee was shot.

Before the judge this afternoon, Ondelee's mom - through tears - read her son's victim impact statement in which he talks about the morning after the shooting . "I woke up hooked up to all these machines," Perteet wrote. "I didn't understand what was going on. I had a catheter and I was wearing a diaper. Your honor, all I could do is cry, tears rolled down the side of my face and I couldn't even wipe them off." CLICK HERE TO READ ENTIRE STATEMENT

Despite his remarkable progress, Perteet wrote how he can't feel many parts of his body. He suffers spasms that sometimes cause his body to jerk so hard it cuts his breath off. In asking for a just sentence, Perteet wrote, "this was devastating and a horrible, senseless act, and I got a life sentence in a wheelchair."

Sansberry's mother spoke of a double tragedy that two families now endure and asked for leniency for her son.

The judge sentenced Sansberry to 20 years.

"While I wanted justice, and I got it, I was looking for a lengthy sentence," Deetreena Perteet said. "My heart still goes out t him because I have compassion for people.

Mother and son - throughout this ordeal - have spoken of the need to find forgiveness amidst anger and pain.

"It's been hard to forgive somebody that tried to kill you," Ondelee Perteet said. "That would be hard for anybody to forgive somebody who tried to kill you, so it's not easy.

"I had to (forgive Sansberry). I had no choice. That's the only way I could heal. That's the only way I could move forward."