CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE -- The admitted killer of a Wildwood man was sentenced to a 20-year prison term Thursday afternoon.
Jason Thorn, of Glenolden, Pa., pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter in May for shooting Joshua Palumbo once in the chest, killing him, in February, 2011.
Thorn asked to withdraw that guilty plea Thursday, but Superior Court Judge Raymond Batten denied the request.
As part of the plea agreement, Thorn avoided trial. If convicted, he faced a life sentence without chance of parole for at least 30 years.
During Thursday's sentencing, Thorn shared the courtroom with rows of Palumbo's family and poster boards filled with pictures of their lost loved one.
Thorn and Palumbo met on Feb. 1, 2011, because they arranged a meeting for Thorn to buy painkillers at Palumbo's Spicer Avenue apartment. Thorn, who admitted to being high and on painkillers at the time, shot Palumbo and left him to die.
Thorn must serve 85 percent of his term, or 17 years, before being eligible for parole. He must also pay $5,000 in restitution and will subject to five years of supervised parole.
Thorn, 25, had been arrested 17 times in the past 12 years and charged with nine indictable offenses as an adult. He did not speak except to answers Batten's questions on Thursday.
Palumbo's family read emotional statements and showed a DVD slideshow of the man.
"You are nothing but a coward," said Palumbo's bother, Joey, to Thorn.
Danielle Palumbo, Joshua's sister-in-law, said the Palumbo family is living a lifetime of pain because of the killing.
"Why, your honor, should Mr. Thorn be serving any less?" she said