PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — A gunman will spend 25 years behind bars after pleading guilty to murder charges in a Palm Beach County courtroom.
Circuit Court Judge Scott Suskauer sentenced Brian Bacallao, 30, on Thursday for the fatal 2019 Tequesta shooting that claimed the life of a Good Samaritan.
During his sentencing hearing, Bacallao apologized before the judge and the family of Justin Todd.
"I’m sorry it came to this and I hope and pray that one day God shows you forgiveness in your heart towards me and towards the situation,” he said.
Justin Todd was shot and killed on September 22, 2019 while trying to protect protect a woman who was being attacked by Bacallao. Bacallao claimed self-defense but was ultimately arrested and charged with first-degree murder.
Last week he agreed to take a best interest guilty plea to a lesser charge of second-degree murder.
Justin Todd’s mother says her son was well-known throughout Jupiter as a gentle giant, who enjoyed helping others and putting a smile on everyone's face. He was affectionately called "Big Boi" by his friends.
“It’s just been a long time, a long time coming,” said Teresa Todd. “Realistically, I think we got the best out of it we could get.”
Justin Todd spent seven years working as a chef at the popular Jupiter restaurant, Guanabanas. Shortly before his death, he was hired by Aramark food service company and was stationed at Florida Power and Light Company offices in Juno Beach.
After the sentencing, Justin Todd's family and friends gathered at Carlin Park to celebrate his life and reflect on the many lives he has touched.
“He's up there with his father, so I know they’re together," said his stepmom, April Drolet-Todd, "and that does help somewhat, so that brings me peace.”
“He was made a hero by the size of his heart and may we all be the things that he strives to be,” said Teresa Todd.