After witnessing his uncle murdered in the bush over a drug dispute, James Fleet's fate was sealed.
The 25-year-old was next after convicted killer Martin Hone decided James had seen too much and couldn't be allowed to live.
Martin Hone, 35, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 20 years at the High Court in Rotorua on Friday after pleading guilty to the murder of James and Raymond Fleet.
He also pleaded guilty to one charge of manufacturing methamphetamine and one charge of threatening to kill.
The court was told the murder was the result of fears by Hone and his associates - who cannot be named for legal reasons - that Raymond Fleet, 51, had been ripping off a methamphetamine cook that the patched Black Power member had set up in Mamaku.
The uncle and nephew were reported missing on August 10, 2017, and a double homicide investigation was launched following the discovery of their bodies in Mamaku Forest on August 17, 2017.
Before sentencing Hone, Justice Geoffrey Venning outlined from the police summary of facts how suspicions of theft from a methamphetamine cook in a secret location fuelled Hone's anger, leading him an associates to take the Fleets to a spot in the Mamaku Forest.
"Over the next hour, a series of assaults took place," Venning said.
When Raymond attempted to fight back, he was struck with a spade then run over with a vehicle.
James "was killed simply because he witnessed the death of his uncle".
Venning described the killings as "murders as violent as they were senseless, driven by some mistaken paranoia about a low [methamphetamine] yield".
The court was also told Hone committed the crimes while on parole from prison and was deemed "a high risk of harm to others".
The packed court also heard a witness impact statement from James's mother, Bronwyn Fleet.
Her words prompted tears among members of the Fleet whānau in the packed gallery, and she described making the statement as "one of the most challenging things I've ever done".
She said she wanted to speak "to publicly acknowledge how much I love him".
Most of the statement was in the form of diary entries, spanning a year from August 7, 2017, to 2018.
"I'm desperately longing for my boy tonight. Yearning, craving, aching to see him, touch him. I feel hollow and empty and broken."
She also described her thoughts about the last time she saw him.
"If I'd known, I'd have held him closer for longer. I'd have told him how precious he was to me."
The December 18 entry read simply as "a surreal experience to stand at the place where your child took his last breath. There's no describing how it feels."
She said there are brief moments when she feels normal, "then it comes back again".
"I can't think about him without feeling the most indescribable pain," she said.
"No matter how many Christmases are left to me on this Earth, I'll never have another one with all my babies."
Looking directly at Hone, she said, "I am so sorry for what they did to you.
"A whole year without you, James. I have no words to explain how much it hurts."