Before learning what his sentence would be, Gilbert Crawley turned around and apologized to the father of the man he was recently found guilty of murdering nearly two years ago.

“I’m truly, truly sorry for the pain and suffering I’ve caused you,” he said. “I want you to know that the pain I carry, the shame I carry, is worse than any sentence the judge can give me.”

Crawley, 50, was sentenced Thursday morning to 27 years to life in prison after a jury last month found him guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of 49-year-old Archie Harris from Bellflower. He was also convicted on an additional charge of being felon in possession of a firearm.

Harris’ body was found lying on the sidewalk in the 5800 block of Orange Avenue on the night of June 28, 2020. His death kicked off a sudden wave of gun violence that hit North Long Beach at the end of June 2020, which resulted in the death of two other people during that time, including a woman who was shot while attending Harris’ vigil.

While little is known about the motive, prosecutors say video evidence shows Crawley and Harris, who knew each other, had been walking side-by-side on Orange Avenue when Crawley purposefully slowed down, waited for Harris to get ahead of him, and then shot him in the back of the head.

Crawley fled the scene on foot, but was arrested the following afternoon during a traffic stop near Atlantic Avenue and the 91 Freeway.

During sentencing on Thursday, Crawley again contended that the shooting was the result of him having an alcoholic drink the day before at a party after having almost finished a 30-day cleanse.

Additionally, Crawley said in court that Harris had given him PCP the night of the shooting, a story that Harris’ family refuted and the judge said he didn’t find credible.

Harris’ family described how they had seen a change in him just before his death. He was sharing stories and ideas with his family about ways to improve life for himself and his children.

But sadly, his family said, his life was taken before he had a chance to put any of his plans in action.

“(Crawley) deserves to be in prison for the rest of his life,” Harris’ sister Sharon said in court. “A life for a life.”

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