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Man gets life in jail in slaying

LAWRENCEVILLE - A 19-year-old man accused of killing a Dacula teen last year was sentenced to life in prison Friday plus five years.

After a 10-hour deliberation, a jury in Gwinnett County Superior Court found Marco Danyel Mcilwain guilty of felony murder, his attorney said.

Mcilwain fatally shot Jimmy Lee West, 19, on Feb. 5, 2007, in a yard on Hill Circle in Dacula.

Mcilwain joins three co-defendants accused of participating in the murder. He was indicted, along with Joseph Andrew Smith and Keith Orlando Owens Jr., in October.

Smith struck a plea agreement with prosecutors last month on lesser charges and is awaiting sentencing. Owens has yet to go to trial.

"I appreciate (the jury) taking the time to consider all the facts before making their decision," Mcilwain's attorney, Stacy Levy said.

Mcilwain consistently denied his involvement during the two-week trial. He told jurors the other defendants wanted to bring someone else down with them.

Nigel Lush, assistant district attorney, questioned the credibility of Mcilwain's statements.

Mcilwain has remained at the Gwinnett County Jail without bond since Feb. 6 of last year. Investigators said all three men knew West, but a motive was unclear.