By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — An Anoka County judge sentenced a man to more than 10 years in prison Thursday for the murder of a teenager during a drug deal that went bad.

Eighteen-year-old Loren Gafner, of St. Francis, apologized in court Thursday.

In September, he pled guilty to second-degree murder. He was driving the car that killed 17-year-old Tristan Robinson in Andover last November. Davieon Maddox, 18, and a juvenile were also charged in the case.

Tristan Robinson (credit: CBS)

“Today I address this court with the heaviest heart a mother should never have to bear,” said Robinson’s mother, Angel.

In a packed courtroom, and with a picture of her son Tristan in front of her, Angel Robinson talked about how her son was a peacemaker and a jokester, someone with musical talent who had written more than 200 songs.

“While you were running from the police and hiding from what you did that day, I was dying second by second,” Angel said.

Robinson told Gafner that she could not forgive him, and since the night her son was killed she’s needed therapy, can no longer work full-time, and that Tristan’s sister asks about her big brother every day.

Loren Gafner (credit: CBS)

“I’m dreading the day I have to tell her what really happened to her brother. All she knows right now is that he died by a car and he’s in heaven,” Robinson said.

“After running Tristan over the first time, you should have stopped. But no, you ran him over again and dragged him to his death,” said Marlene Albrecht, Tristan’s grandmother.

After family members and a friend read statements, Gafner offered an emotional apology to Robinson’s mother and grandmother.

“I believe I’ve done more than learned my lesson, I’ve also found my way to God’s loving arms and I believe he has a plan for me,” Gafner said. “I’m sorry.”

The judge gave Gafner what amounted to 10 years in prison and another four-and-a-half years of supervised release.

John Lauritsen