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Firefighter Killer Gets Up to Life

November 5, 1998

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (AP) _ In a courtroom filled with firefighters, a Long Island man was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for the 1997 thrill killing of an off-duty New York City fireman.

William Sodders, 22, was found guilty of murder for shooting 30-year-old James Halversen on a dare from friends as the firefighter jogged around a high school track.

``There was no robbery, no revenge issue here,″ prosecutor William Ferris said Wednesday. The murder was ``simply born out of the desire to shoot another individual, use his 9 mm gun and kill him.″

Halversen, a husband and father of twins born a month after his slaying, was shot in the chest. Then, as he lay on the ground bleeding, Sodders shot him twice more in the leg.

``The bullet that pierced Jim Halversen’s chest really pierced the core of the community,″ the prosecutor said, ``because it could have been anyone on that track, at anytime.″

Eric Calvin, 19, has pleaded guilty to driving the getaway car. He could get three to nine years in prison on Friday.

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