KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The teen charged with the shooting at Central High School which claimed the life of 15 year-old Ryan McDonald three years ago pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on Tuesday.
Following his plea, a Knox Co. judge sentenced Jamar Siler to thirty years in jail. His trial was set to begin on December 5. Though only 15 at the time of his arrest, his case was transferred from juvenile court to adult court in April 2009.
Ryan McDonald's family waited more than three years for this day, to finally see justice for Ryan's death.
"You don't really realize what you're gonna feel, all the different emotions you're gonna feel, anger and sadness and you're hurting," said Roger McDonald, the victim's uncle.
Ryan was 15 in his last yearbook picture, taken just days before he died, and only weeks away from getting his driver's license.
"Ryan was looking so froward to that, something that simple," said McDonald.
He would be 19 now, and most likely in college. His family wonders what he would be like.
"What kind of man would he have been, what kind of family he could have had, what could he have done. You think about that, and we'll never know," said McDonald.
Growing up, Ryan wanted to work with children.
So in his memory, the McDonalds run a toy drive every year. They collect toys and books for children at the Helen Ross McNabb Center and Child and Family Services.
You can find those boxes at any Ingles Market location in Knoxville.
"So we're trying to make some positives out of a very negative thing you know we really are," said McDonald.
Three years have passed since Ryan was killed but the pain of losing remains raw.
"Our family has a hole in it that we'll always have, and just not the same without him," said McDonald.
Siler was originally arrested minutes after the August 2008 shooting. Officers also recovered a weapon three blocks away.
Several months later he and another prisoner attempted to escape from Richard L. Bean Juvenile Detention Center, but the pair were spotted hiding in some vines several hours later.
Siler's adoptive sister Ciara Siler is also serving time. She was sentenced to 23 months in jail in connection with the killing of 31 year-old Jerri Goodman in August 2008.