"I am sorry." That's what Jeffrey Allen told the murder victim's family after being found guilty of capital murder in Jackson County Thursday. Allen was one of two people charged in the shooting death of junkyard dealer Charles Mason in 2011.
Tears flowed as Charles Mason's family heard the jury's decision that Jeffrey Allen was guilty. Allen grew up with Mason and his kids in Jackson County and he had even referred to the 86-year-old man as uncle.
"The family has waited since March 2011 to hear what happened to their family member and it is an emotional time for them," Jackson County District Attorney Tony Lawrence said.
Throughout the three day trial, the state told of how Mason's old girlfriend, Donna Marie Freeman, who's also charged in this case, had started dating Allen.
District Attorney Tony Lawrence argued that the new couple was money hungry and knew Mason was a junkyard dealer and carried a lot of cash on him. The prosecution said that's what led Allen and Freeman to shoot the elderly man at his home, take money out of his pocket, split it up and dump the murder weapon in the river.
"We just thought that the evidence pointed to what we knew obviously, that it was a plan. And we think they went there to rob Charlie Mason because he was tired of them stealing from them," Lawrence said.
Allen's defense team didn't call any witnesses to help him. They still maintained that Allen was not a killer and that there was no physical evidence to prove he had a hand in Mason's murder.
"The next step in the process is we will be filing an appeal. We are disappointed in the verdict. Jeffrey is obviously very emotional right now," Defense Attorney Andre' de Gruy said.
Before Allen was taken away, the convicted murder turned around and apologized to Mason's grieving family.
"I am sorry. I love y'all. I really do," Allen said.
The death penalty was taken off the table, but Jeffrey Allen will be spending life in prison without the possibility of parole. Donna Freeman will have a status hearing next month and her capital murder trial will be held early next year.