DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A Wayne County judge has ordered life sentences for three people convicted in the deaths of two Detroit-area women who sparked a frantic search when one of them texted a friend that she was trapped in a car trunk.

Judge Vonda Evans called one man a “merciless mercenary” and another an “architect of death.” Reginald Brown, cousin Jeremy Brown and Brandon Cain face mandatory life in prison without parole.

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Brian Lee proclaimed his innocence before he was sentenced Friday to at least 45 years in prison for second-degree murder.

Hamtramck residents Abreeya Brown, 18, and Ashley Conaway, 22, abducted and were stuffed in a car trunk at gunpoint before they were killed in February.

The young women’s bodies about a month later in shallow graves in a wooded area near Six Mile and Telegraph in Detroit. Police believe they were targeted for informing authorities about an earlier shooting.

Abreeya Brown’s relative Lois Brown addressed the suspects on Friday.

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“The devastation that you put upon Abreeya and Ashley cut their lives so short, but there’s no doubt in my mind that my babies are in the kingdom of heaven,” Brown said. “You guys were just tools that were used to give them their wings.  Repent for your sins before it’s too late!”

Another relative addressing the court was very emotional. “I ask, every day in jail, that you remember as you plotted and schemed; as you sent out to get the duct tape, and as you sent out to get the gasoline, and as you had my sister and my niece bound and gagged and tortured them,” she said.

A fifth defendant, Miguel Rodriguez, was sentenced last week to at least 20 years in prison.

The Brown cousins are unrelated to Abreeya Brown.

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