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Man convicted of killing HART bus driver sentenced to life in prison

Thomas Dunn was killed on a bus in 2019
Man sentenced for killing HART bus driver
Posted at 9:15 PM, Apr 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-20 23:18:44-04

TAMPA, FLA. — The man convicted of killing a HART bus driver three years ago was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday.

Justin McGriff was convicted of first-degree murder. Surveillance video showed McGriff stabbing and killing Thomas Dunn, a HART bus driver, in 2019.

Previous coverage: Prosecutors seek death penalty against man suspected of stabbing, killing HART bus driver

"There are simply no words. Words are inadequate to express the feelings related to the totality of these circumstances and what makes it even sadder if that's possible is this appears to be a national problem," said Judge Christopher Sabella.

Judge Christopher Sabella addressed the mental health crisis in the United States. In 2019, McGriff was sent to a state mental hospital for treatment. He was later found competent to stand trial.

"Some innocent person had to lose their life, that innocent person today is Thomas Dunn and it's sad. It is sad that our system of mental health has failed us," said Judge Sabella.

RELATED: HART establishes scholarship fund for children of bus driver who was killed

Thomas's brother, Michael Dunn, spoke to ABC Action News after the sentencing. He said no amount of prison time will ever bring his brother back.

"Every day, I think about us growing up together, regret the times we were mean to each other, regret that we weren't nicer to each other growing up as people," said Michael Dunn.

"It's not just hard on me, hard on his parents, my sister, his wife, really wish he could still be here," he added.

Since Dunn's death, new safety barriers were approved to protect drivers on buses.

When Dunn was killed, he did not have a safety partition between himself and the passenger.