MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. -

A man convicted of killing four women whom he met through an online escort site opted to stay in jail when a Detroit-area judge sentenced him to life in prison.

The mandatory sentence of life with no chance of parole was given to James Brown on Tuesday in a courtroom packed with his victims' relatives.

Defense attorney Jeff Cojocar says Brown didn't "want to be around that environment" again. Macomb County Judge James Biernat Jr. called Brown "a coward."

Brown was convicted of first-degree murder in February.

The 26-year-old admits the four women died in pairs in his basement. But he told police he couldn't explain why they died. Authorities believe they were asphyxiated.

The victims were Renisha Landers, Demesha Hunt, Natasha Curtis and Vernithea McCrary, all in their 20s. The women met Brown through Backpage.com, which carries personal ads for people looking for sex.

Renisha Landers and Demesha Hunt

--Two of the victims, Renisha Landers and Demesha Hunt