Updated: 09/02/2014 5:52 PM
Created: 09/02/2014 8:51 AM WHEC.com
By: Berkeley Brean
The Rochester man convicted of killing two men and trying to kill a Rochester Police officer is never getting out of prison.
Ralph Strong got life without parole for both murders and the second sentence won't start until the first one is completed. Then, the judge gave him another 40 years to life for the attempted murder of the police officer.
At his sentencing, Strong had a lot to say and he said it to a packed courtroom. It took several minutes for the families and all of the police officers to enter the courtroom.
Strong apologized to the families of the men he killed and said, “They make me out as a menace. I'm nothing like that. You think life in prison is part of a life plan?"
Nicole Singleton is the sister of one of the men killed, Jahmia Singleton. She said, “We still wish him blessings. God help him through the life sentences he got.”
Surveillance video shows the murders. In the middle of a parking lot outside a night club, Strong shot Singleton and Reggie Johnson. The tape shows he ran after them, eventually shooting both of them in the back when they were lying on the ground. To that Strong said, "You don't have time to think when things happen fast. In this street life you're either going to get coffins or cuffs."
Two days later, when police had him surrounded, Strong shot Rochester Police Sergeant Flamur Zenelovic. Sergeant Zenelovi said, “I think people are sick of it. The community is sick of it. The police department is tired of the violence. We'd like to see some change and we hope this serves as an example to the would-be criminals enough is enough.”
When Judge Joanne Winslow told Strong you chose cuffs, in reference to Strong’s earlier remarks about getting coffins or cuffs, the courtroom erupted in applause.
We spoke with Bishop David Singleton and two of his sons as they walked into the parking lot where his son, Jahmia Singleton, was was murdered. He says this place is a scar that reminds him of what happened.
"I just hope and pray it wouldn't happen to someone else," Bishop Singleton said.
Bishop Singleton says the only way to stop the violence that scars so many families, like his, and threatens the lives of police, like Sergeant Zenelovic, is for people to be involved in the lives of children.
"I know we can make our schools better, make our community better but we have to come together and share our hearts with one another,' he said.
How you can help make a difference
The Bishop says he has a way to do that. It's a program he started called "Help Me Read." He had 137 elementary school students last year. He needs more tutors.
If you're interested you can call 235-2652 or click here to get to his church's website.