OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - An Oakland man who was shot and paralyzed during a home invasion robbery is sharing his story for the first time on the eve of the sentencing hearing for the two defendants in the case.
Jeremy White, the victim, says he's learning justice can be frustrating.
The crime was committed by two teenagers almost two years ago in White's family home in the Oakland hills.
White plans to go to court Tuesday to face the two defendants. He is nervous about the hearing and that he's frustrated with the criminal justice system. He says one of the two men responsible may soon walk free.
The 31-year-old says he's struggling to get back the life he had before the home invasion and shooting. "It was the most traumatic thing that happened in my life. There's only one day in the past two years where I didn't think about it," he said.
One day last summer, his friends took him on a trip and he says that was the only time he was able to not think about what happened to him.
On April 19, 2017, two young men broke into White's home, stole his belongings and shot him in the back. It paralyzed him from the waist down.
"I did everything they asked," White recalled. "I told them please leave me alone I'll give you whatever you want. They told me they were going to kill me. They shot me in the back. They left me for dead while they looted the rest of my house."
He described a long and difficult road to recovery with doctors telling hime he was unlikely to walk again. Now, he faces another ordeal.
The two men arrested for the crime: Maureece Simpkins and Elijah Utsey, 18 and 19 years old, at the time of the crime are set to be sentenced Tuesday. Simpkins who shot White, is expected to receive 18 years in prison. But Utsey may get five years of felony probation.
"I don't think it's fair that he gets to walk away from this and I don't," White said.
He told KTVU he's sharing his story for the first time in hopes of getting justice and preventing this from happening to someone else.
"I was scared that people like this would be able to do this again or that they would be able to do this again," White said. He says the Alameda County District Attorney's Office decided not to go to trial because of insufficient evidence.
He questions that because police had told him otherwise and that his stolen belongings were found in the defendants' possession.
A spokeswoman for the DA's office says she can't talk about an active case, but that the prosecution spoke with White several times about the plea deal.
White says he was repeatedly reassured from the time of the defendants' arrests that there would be no plea deal.
"The day before the trial, I got a call from the district attorney's office that I didn't need to come to trial because they were going to accept a plea deal and that is where we are now," says White.
His hands shook during his interview with a KTVU crew.
"I'm dealing with a lot of that pain and emotion that they inflicted on me. I'm scared how that's going to go tomorrow when I see them," says White.
When asked what he wants to say to the two defendants, he replied, "I just want to ask them why. Why did you shoot me?"
White says Tuesday will be the first time he comes face to face with Simpkins and Utsey since the incident.
White plans to give a victim impact statement during the sentencing hearing-one way he hopes to regain what was stolen from him.