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Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office
Jeremiah Ray Hart

SALT LAKE CITY — A man convicted of shooting and killing a West Valley man during a drug robbery has been sentenced to prison.

Jeremiah Ray Hart, 45, was sentenced Jan. 18 to at least 25 years and potentially life in prison for killing 24-year-old Christian McDonald.

A jury found Hart guilty in November of aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, as well as obstructing justice and possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, second-degree felonies.

In addition to the murder sentence, Hart was ordered to serve consecutive prison terms of one to 15 years for the obstruction and weapons charges. Those sentences also run consecutively to prison sentences Hart is already serving.

McDonald's body was found lying in the middle of the road near 1224 E. Parkway Ave. on Jan. 24, 2015.

McDonald had arranged to make a drug deal with co-defendant Erick Michael Burwell, 38, who goes by the moniker "Diablo," according to charging documents. McDonald and his brother got into a car with Burwell, who then picked up Hart, also known as "Bullet," police say.

When the car stopped, Hart produced a gun and demanded that McDonald "give him the backpack containing the drugs," according to court documents.

Christian McDonald, who was in the front passenger seat, attempted to pull out his gun, police said. Hart, who was in the back seat, reached his hand around to the front and shot McDonald in the chest.

Hart was treated at a hospital for a gunshot wound. Investigators later used DNA collected from a blood trail at the crime scene to identify hi.

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A witness told detectives that after the shooting, Hart stated he "didn't regret it," and that "people need to act right," the charges state.

Burwell was charged in 3rd District Court with murder and aggravated robbery, first-degree felonies; and obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony. He pleaded guilty in October to manslaughter and robbery, second-degree felonies, and was sentenced to concurrent prison terms of one to 15 years.

Hart's lengthy criminal history includes both state and federal drug charges dating back to the mid-1990s, according to court records.