Life in jail for man convicted in child's shooting death - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Life in prison for man convicted in child's shooting death

Jermani and Nonni Brooks (Source: Family) Jermani and Nonni Brooks (Source: Family)
During sentencing, Brooks shows the judge a picture of her daughter. (Source: WOIO) During sentencing, Brooks shows the judge a picture of her daughter. (Source: WOIO)
Geoffrey Gurkovich sentenced in court. (Source: WOIO) Geoffrey Gurkovich sentenced in court. (Source: WOIO)
The man accused of shooting a 5-year-old Cleveland girl and her mother while they were sitting in a parked SUV was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 26 years. 

Geoffrey Gurkovich was convicted of aggravated murder, felony assault, weapons charges and tampering with evidence.

Nonni Brooks and her daughter, Jermani, were both shot on Jan. 19, 2014, when police say Gurkovich pumped bullets into the family's van on Crossburn Avenue.

Little Jermani died as a result of her injuries. Nonni survived, but lost an eye. Her two other children, an infant and 8-year-old, were also inside the vehicle, but were not harmed.

Police say the Brooks family was not his intended target. Gurkovich's girlfriend allegedly got into an altercation with Nonni's boyfriend earlier that night. Investigators believe Gurkovich went to the Crossburn Avenue home looking for him.

Gurkovich said he bought the gun he used for protection and fired out of stupidity.

The record is clear on Geoffrey Gurkovich. He's a loser several times over, being locked up time and again for domestic violence. The record also shows he doesn't like prison very much. During a stretch for domestic violence, he petitioned the court a half dozen times for early release. He was denied each time.

"I wish there was something I could do. I wish I could bring her back. If I could take my life and bring her back, I'd do it a hundred times over," said Gurkovich.

At sentencing, Nonni brought boards filled with pictures that told a gut-wrenching story: pumpkins on her grave at Halloween, one of her favorites, and even her funeral.

"We dressed her up so pretty with her tiara and her dress we found to match her baby doll, because she loved baby dolls and dressing up," said Nonni. 

Pictures and broken hearts are all that are left for Jermani's family.

"Any man that carries a gun is not a man. If you can take a kid's life you're not a man," said Quentin Fips,  Jermani's father.

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