Man gets life for Columbia area officer’s death

MBIA, S.C. (AP) — A 36-year-old man has been sentenced to life without parole in the killing of a police officer at a South Carolina mall as part of a plea deal that spares him a possible death sentence.

Jarvis Hall pleaded guilty Tuesday to murder in a Richland County courtroom packed with three dozen law enforcement officers.

Prosecutors say Hall shot Forest Acres officer Greg Alia in the back of the head as the two wrestled on the ground at the Richland Mall in September 2015. Alia and two other officers were investigating a complaint about a suspicious person.

Investigators say Alia caught up with Hall and was shot as the two men struggled.

Authorities say Hall was armed with a .40-caliber handgun that had been stolen from neighboring Lexington County less than a month before and also had a knife.

Alia’s widow, Kassy, told Jarvis she forgives him but still mourns the loss of the most wonderful man she had ever met. The couple’s son turned 6 months old the day Alia died.

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