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Pontiac — A Detroit man was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole Monday in the shooting death of a popular Farmington Hills party store owner last year.

Before sentencing Monday, Cassalle Nettles, 43, expressed sympathy to the family of Duraid “Dave” Lossia, but insisted he had nothing to do with the slaying. Lossia was fatally shot during an apparent armed robbery inside his Tom’s Party Store on Inkster Road near Eight Mile.

Before sentenced by Judge Daniel P. O’Brien, Nettles insisted the evidence against him was flawed and said he planned to appeal his conviction.

“I will be back,” Nettles said to assistant prosecuting attorney Robert Novy and others in the courtroom, including more than a dozen of Lossia’s relatives and friends.

A jury of four women and eight men deliberated two days before returning a guilty-as-charged verdict of first-degree murder, felony firearm and armed robbery against Nettles, who has an extensive criminal history, including armed robbery.

A customer who entered Lossia’s store Dec. 28 found Lossia lying behind the counter and called police.

While there were no eyewitnesses to the shooting, Novy laid out a circumstantial case that included Nettles’ fingerprints on a candy wrapper and ice tea bottle left behind and the testimony of a nearby merchant who said Nettles had been in his store shortly before the shooting and left his telephone number behind.

Nettles initially denied being in the area but when investigators told him evidence against him included a store security video, Nettles offered up a different version. It was disclosed at trial that the camera was inoperable.

Nettles admitted to investigators being inside the store when the shooting occurred but said he was hiding in the rear of the business from two other men who came in and robbed and killed Lossia.

mmartindale@detroitnews.com

(248) 338-0319

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