Adrian Gilliam and his attorney, Hugh Mundy, seemed stunned by the 30-month prison sentence handed down by U.S. District Judge Todd Campbell on Friday morning for the sale of a handgun to the mistress of slain former Titans quarterback Steve McNair, who then killed the football star with it.
“I just want to say, if you give me the opportunity to have another chance to go on…to take care of my family, who’s struggling,” Gilliam said haltingly before Campbell handed down the sentence.
It is illegal for Gilliam, a convicted felon, to possess a firearm. The sentencing range for the crime is 30 to 37 months, and Campbell showed some leniency by assigning a sentence on the shorter end, with two years of supervised release. Nevertheless, Mundy notified the judge that, for “procedural and substantive” reasons, Gilliam may appeal, though he said he hadn’t discussed the prospect with his client.
Gilliam’s fiancée, Jamiya Gilmore, sobbed as the sentence was handed down. As Gilliam shuffled out of the courtroom in an orange jumpsuit and shackles, he shook his head as if to say he was sorry to his fiancée, who will have to raise their little girl, Ameiah, by herself for the next two and a half years.
Aside from the fact that Gilliam’s case is linked to one of the most high-profile murders in Nashville history, it is unusual for a few reasons — the nature of his earlier conviction at 16 years old and his resistance to the recidivism that characterizes so many formerly imprisoned felons.
After moving to the hardscrabble public-housing neighborhoods of Miami to live with his mother, Gilliam fell in with a rough element as a teenager. Weeks after Hurricane Andrew paralyzed South Florida in August 1992, 16-year-old Gilliam got into a car with three boys and cruised the devastated projects, according to Mundy’s sentencing memorandum. The three robbed a woman and her granddaughter and then moved on to a second robbery at a nearby residence. Gilliam, according to the report, remained in the car while the other two stepped out with handguns. The would-be victim shot and killed one of the boys. Because of his participation in the robberies, Gilliam was charged with second-degree murder for the death of his friend and was sentenced to 17 years. He served 10.
While inside, Gilliam earned his GED and received training and certification in air-conditioning maintenance, the memo says. After his release, he moved to Nashville and found work as a car salesman. When the auto industry tanked in 2009, Gilliam lost his job. In July 2009, he sold a 9 mm pistol to Sahel Kazemi in the parking lot of Dave & Buster’s at Opry Mills for $100. He’d bought it in 2007 after his house was burglarized. The day after the sale, Kazemi used the gun to shoot McNair and then herself in what Metro Police formally concluded was a murder-suicide.