A nursing assistant who fatally shot a co-worker at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and subsequently wounded two officers in an early morning shootout near a school last fall has been sentenced to a minimum of 35 years in prison.
Stacey Hayes, 55, apologized Wednesday to the family and friends of 43-year-old Anrae James after pleading guilty to third-degree murder and other charges but didn’t explain the reason for the Oct. 4 attack at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
“I won’t ask for forgiveness from y’all because I don’t deserve it. But I am truly, truly, truly sorry for my actions,” he said before sentencing. Defense attorney Gary Server called the term imposed “effectively a life sentence” because his client will be barred from seeking parole until he is nearly 90 years old.
Authorities said Hayes was wearing scrubs when he shot James on the hospital’s ninth floor just after midnight before fleeing in a box truck. Just before 1:30 a.m., Hayes, who was wearing body armor, was critically wounded in a gun battle with police in west Philadelphia’s Parkside neighborhood near the School of the Future on the edge of Fairmount Park. One officer was hit in the elbow and another was grazed on the nose.
Police said they hadn’t discovered “any hostility” between the two men. James, also a part-time barber, was described as a family man who worked two jobs to support his three kids, the newspaper reported. In court Wednesday, his mother called her son “an honorable, beautiful man,” and his brother, Armond, called him “my hero.”
Assistant District Attorney David Osborne choked up while reading aloud a letter from James’ wife saying she was “still in disbelief” and talking about times when the couple’s children — including a 2-year-old daughter — have broken down asking for their father.
Mark Campiglia, one of a number of James’ coworkers who attended the hearing in blue scrubs, said James “is so dearly missed.”
“It’s like missing a family member,” Campiglia said. “We will probably never be the same.”