Published: Oct 11, 2010 11:57 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 11, 2010 8:57 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - David Hankins was 15 when police say he stabbed his mother Mayra Rodriguez to death. They were fighting over a bottle of vodka.

Her sister was in the courtroom today and addressed the judge.

"My sister was a wonderful person. She tried her best to understand David and be there for him," said Sandy Rodriguez.

Family members say they will never understand why Rodriguez's life came to a violent end. Hankins was in a fight with his mother over alcohol when reports show he grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed her in the chest. He said he put his mother in a bedroom closet and left.

"I think about the last moments of my sisters life- someone so caring and loving- that the last moments of her life were so cold and cruel," said Rodriguez.

Just three days shy of his 17th birthday, he listened to his aunt tell the court his family won't give up on him. She says she knows his mother wouldn't want that.

Rodriguez also delivered a message to Hankins from his grandfather:

"He loves you. You are his first grandson. And he wants to forgive you. We will always love you. We are family," she said.