NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A man convicted of stabbing two small children inside a public housing elevator in Brooklyn was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison Tuesday.

In April, Daniel St. Hubert was convicted of murder and attempted murder.

Back in 2014, authorities said St. Hubert, now 31, killed 6-year-old PJ Avitto and critically injured then-7-year-old Mikayla Capers inside an elevator at the Boulevard Houses in East New York.

Mikayla, who is now 11, was not supposed to attend the sentencing today, but her great grandmother told CBS2’s Andrea Grymes the young girl shocked the family late Monday night when she told them she had to be there, and had to address the judge in person.

She was a picture of what should be complete childhood innocence as she bravely walked into the courtroom. Instead, she channeled an inner strength well beyond her 11 years.

“Sometimes I try not to remember… but every day I must look at my 16 stab wounds,” Mikayla said during the sentencing.

Mikayla spoke to Judge Judge Vincent Del Giudice at St. Hubert’s sentencing. St Hubert sat just feet away, in handcuffs.

“I will always remember [PJ’s] smiling face and the fun we had,” Mikayla said. “I ask the bad man Daniel St. Hubert be sent to jail for the rest of his life.”

Here’s her complete statement:

Dear Judge, I’m Mikayla Capers and thankful the trial is over and the bad man Daniel St. Hubert was found guilty for what he did to me – stabbing me 16 times and stabbing my best friend pj who died from his stab wounds. Judge, it was explained to me that you now as trial judge must sentence Daniel St. Hubert to jail time. Judge – I was only 7 years old, and my best friend PJ was only 6.  We were just going to get some icie sundae. Sometimes i try not to remember this bad man Daniel St. Hubert and what he did to me and PJ. But every day i must look at my body and see those 16 stab wounds that are there for the rest of my life. My best friend PJ who I think about a lot and wonder what he would be like now, but that will never happen because he died that day from being stabbed. I will always remember his smiling face and the fun we had together. I will never forget him. Judge D I am 11 years old now and still in the process of how to deal with what happened to me and PJ as well as growing up and learning in school. I thank my family who loves me and has helped me through this process of bad times as well as my friends, teachers and principal and many others by supporting me and giving me encouragement. I ask the bad man be sent to jail for the rest of his life because my friend PJs life has ended at the age of 6 years old. He never had the chance to grow up and live his life. I, Mikayla Capers also was scared for the rest of my life – I would know the bad man would never hurt anyone else. I can breath again. Judge D, I will not let this horrible thing that happened to me and my best friend define who I am.

PJ and Mikayla had been playing outside when PJ’s godmother let the kids go inside by themselves to get an icie. In the elevator, they came face-to-face with St. Hubert, a stranger, who stabbed the children repeatedly.

PJ’s godmother tearfully begged the judge today to give St. Hubert the maximum sentence.

“I will never hear his precious voice again,” said Anabelle Diaz Aston as she cried in the courtroom.

The prosecutor point out this was not St. Hubert’s first brush with the law. He told the judge that days before the stabbing, St. Huber was released from prison after attempting to murder his own mother.

Still, St. Hubert stood up and spoke off-the-cuff for several minutes, pleading for leniency.

Web Extra: Excerpts Of St. Hubert’s Statement

“They want to give me life. I’m a good guy. I’ve been a good guy my whole life… I was actually trying to chase a career for being a Hollywood actor,” St. Hubert said. “I told them since the beginning that I’m innocent. I’d never done this, and I would never kill two kids.”

Finally, the judge had his turn.

“This case is a tragedy. It’s a case that’s of an unspeakable horror,” Del Giudice said, and handed down a sentence of 50 years to life in prison. “My earnet hope and desire is you never regain your freedom.”

To which, the audience full of family and loved ones of PJ and Mikayla erupted in applause.

The judge also told Mikayla he wants her to grow up, be a strong woman, and try to put all of this behind her.

Defense attorney Howard Greenberg vows to appeal.

“This defendant committed an unspeakable crime when he attacked two defenseless young children for no reason, killing one and leaving the other seriously injured. Today’s sentence ensures that he will not be able to harm any other innocent people,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. “I know that PJ’s loved ones will never be consoled and that Mikayla, whose courageous testimony helped to obtain this conviction, will forever carry this tragedy with her. But I hope that they will find some solace by knowing that justice was done.”


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