KALAMAZOO, Mich. (FOX 2) - A Michigan man who pleaded guilty last month to killing six strangers between picking up rides for Uber was sentenced to a life term in prison with no chance for parole Tuesday.
"Prisons are not designed for those folks we are mad at; they are designed to be for those folks that we are afraid of. And you clearly fall into that category," Kalamazoo County Circuit Court Judge Alexander Lipsey said.
Lipsey read through each of the 16 counts one by one during sentencing. It took more than 10 minutes.
Before that, several victim impact statements were heard from various family members and one of the surviving victims, Tiana Carruthers.
Jason Dalton, 48, pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder last month, just as jury selection was about to begin.
Dalton admitted shooting eight people in three locations in the Kalamazoo area in February 2016. After his arrest , police quoted Dalton as saying a "devil figure" on Uber's app was controlling him on the day of the shootings.
Four women were killed in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel restaurant: Barbara Hawthorne, Dorothy "Judy" Brown, Mary Lou Nye and her sister-in-law, Mary Jo Nye. Rich Smith and his 17-year-old son, Tyler Smith, were fatally shot while looking at a pickup truck in a dealer's lot.
"Living without (them) is impossible," said Emily Lemmer, the daughter of Rich Smith and sister of Tyler Smith, who months after their deaths carried their ashes in a box as she walked alone down the aisle at her wedding.
Lemmer, who spoke during the hearing, said she's afraid she will "lose more people that I love," and she "can't understand" why Dalton went on a deadly rampage.
Abigail Kopf, who was 14 at the time, was shot in the head during the restaurant shooting and survived. Tiana Carruthers was shot and wounded in a residential area.
Dalton was deemed competent to stand trial and had dropped an insanity defense just before his trial was scheduled to start. He hasn't explained in court why he randomly shot eight people.
The father of two had worked as an insurance adjuster and had no criminal record before the shootings.
Prosecutor Jeff Getting has said the motive behind the shootings is a question that "haunts us."
A gun shop owner said Dalton bought a jacket with an inside pocket designed to hold a gun just hours before the rampage. Shop owner Jon Southwick recalled Dalton "laughing and joking," and giving a "one-armed hug" to the manager before making the purchase.
FOX 2 reported on this story from Southfield, Mich.
The Associated Press contributed to this report