VERO BEACH, Fla. — A man found not guilty last fall in the death of his girlfriend after a shootout with deputies was back in court Monday to be sentenced on a separate weapons charge.
Speaking Monday on behalf of the man who was with her daughter the night she was killed, Yolanda Woods asked an Indian River County judge for leniency.
"I pray God touches your heart, that you choose redemption over revenge," she said.
Andrew Coffee IV was found not guilty in November of five of six charges in connection with a deadly 2017 SWAT team raid in Gifford. That raid led to an exchange of gunfire that resulted in Coffee’s girlfriend, Alteria Woods, being shot 10 times.
"Andrew has already suffered enough, just as much as my family," Yolanda Woods said.
The jury found Coffee guilty of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and Judge Dan Vaughn ruled during the sentencing hearing Monday that Coffee was a habitual felony offender.
"Mr. Coffee, change your ways," Vaughn said.
Defense attorneys asked for time served, while the state sought an enhanced 30-year penalty.
In the end, Vaughn sentenced Coffee to 10 years in prison, but not before an intense exchange during which the judge took offense to Coffee appearing distracted during sentencing.
"Mr. Coffee, you may not know it, but you've got about 20…" Vaughn said before interrupting himself as Coffee turned to face the back of the courtroom.
"Are you listening to me, Mr. Coffee?" Vaughn asked him.
Outside the courtroom, Coffee's mother and Yolanda Woods united in their cause to remember Alteria, who would have turned 26 this month.
"I came here today because I knew that's what Alteria would have wanted and because of my heart and my faith in God," Yolanda Woods said. "So I was her voice today."
With time served, Coffee could be out in five years.