Battle Creek - The man convicted of killing Battle Creek Police Detective LaVern Brann two years ago listened to Brann's widow before hearing his sentence from the judge Friday.
"I hardly ever say this in my adult life," Melanie Brann said, "but I hate you, Genail Postley. I hate you for what you have done to my daughters and me.
"You, Genail Postley, will spend the rest of your life in prison and I hope it is a long life and I want you to remember every day the innocent life you took."
Postley, 23, then heard Calhoun County Circuit Court Judge James Kingsley tell him he was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole for the May 9, 2005, shooting death of Brann, 44.
"This sentence is not proportional for you taking the life of a good and decent man," Kingsley said.
Postley was convicted Feb. 14 of 27 counts, including Brann's murder, armed robbery, carjacking and multiple weapons offenses.
Brann was shot and killed when he and Detective Greg Huggett went to Forest Hills Apartments in Battle Creek as part of their investigation into the April 26, 2005, stabbing death of Battle Creek Cab driver Unice Sharp. Postley also is charged in that case, and expected to be tried in May.
Huggett was shot and wounded, but a jury found Postley not guilty on a charge of assault with intent to murder.
Postley did not speak in the courtroom. But in a statement included in his pre-sentence report he wrote, in part, "I have taken the life of an innocent man and the people deserve to be satisfied and the penalty should be the greatest."
Melanie Brann said the death of her husband "has left a huge hole in my heart and the father that was our safety network was gone. Our lives will be forever changed.
"He was a gentle man with a big heart and a smile, a handshake or a hug for everyone. You said you just wanted to scare him but you scared him and the whole community. People have said to me, if this can happen to a police officer, it can happen to anyone of us.
"I miss his smile, his friendship and his physical presence," she said. "I miss him every morning, every day and every night. No amount of punishment can fill the void in our hearts. We will never look at this world in the same way."
But Brann said Postley not only changed the life of her family, but also his own.
She said the hopes his mother had for him are now gone and that his sister's life will never again be the same.
A Pennfield teacher, Jane Haudek, read poems and statements from Brann's two daughters, Melina, 14, and Katrina, 10.
Melina's poem said her father is waiting for her in heaven and Katrina said she hoped Postley received the death penalty "because he killed my dad."
Defense Attorney John Vincent noted a difficult childhood for Postley and "there was a tremendous anger that grew out of that and that anger was expressed in the breaking of the law. As a 50-year-old man, he won't have the same thought process, the same anger or even the same morality. I hope we can consider the future and not just the past."
Prosecutor John Hallacy said, "the impact of that May day is very strong and it took away part of us that can't ever be replaced."
He said Brann "represented all that is good in the community. He was just a good guy. This may be the last we speak of this case, but the impact will be forever. We don't need to speak of Mr. Postley. We will speak of Detective Brann."
Chief David Headings said while the sentencing ends the case in court, "I am not sure we will ever get over it. We will always think of LaVern."
Trace Christenson covers crime and courts. He can be reached at 966-0685 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trace Christenson, The Battle Creek Enquirer