Jury returns verdict for 2016 Valdosta murder suspect

Jury returns verdict for 2016 Valdosta murder suspect

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - A Valdosta jury has returned a verdict in a trial for a suspect in a 2016 murder.

Austin Stephens was found guilty of felony murder, aggravated assault, armed robbery and possession of a firearm during a crime in the death of Jalon Renard Jackson in October of 2016.

Jackson was 20-years-old when he was found dead in his home on Toombs Street.

Anthony Jordan testified for the prosecution during the trial.

Jordan is one of the two other suspects in Jackson's killing. He told the jury the two did plan to rob the victim, but he didn't know Stephens had a gun.

Jordan and KeyOlivia Richardson were also charged with felony murder and aggravated assault, both took a plea deal for lesser charges.

On Tuesday, the prosecution described the crime committed against Jackson as being rooted in jealousy and greed.

Stephens was sentenced to two life sentences to be served concurrently, plus another five years. Below is a breakdown of his sentencing:

  • 1 life sentence (30 years) for felony murder and aggravated assault
  • 1 life sentence (30 years) for armed robbery
  • 5 years for possession of a firearm during a crime

Because both life sentences will be served concurrently, Stephens was sentenced to serve a total of 35 years and will then be eligible for parole.

Tiffany Henry, Jackson's mother, spoke out after the trial about how she felt about the verdict.

"I am happy he got double life sentences, justice was served the way it should be. We got one down and two to go and I will be at every sentencing, I will be at every hearing, I will be there unless God takes my breath away," said Henry. "This child was everything, he's special and Austin saw that that's why he killed him, that's why the murderer murdered him. I won't even say his name, that's why the murderer killed him."

Henry said she has no remorse for Stephens.

"Where Austin is going and where Austin is gone go, I hope God has no mercy on his soul,"  said Henry.

Ultimately, Henry was pleased with the prosecution's performance and wants her son to finally be at peace.

"He was one of those special individuals, and they say God takes the good ones young, so maybe that's so in my case, unfortunately, maybe that's so. But my child is in a better place cause he was raised right, he lost his life because he was raised right, he was helping the less fortunate," said Henry.

Henry said Jackson was in his second year of college, making straight A's and that it will hurt her for the rest of her life knowing what could have been.

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