Man convicted of killing 14-year-old boy
Updated On: Mar 01 2013 07:22:42 AM EST
A 21-year-old Jacksonville man was found guilty Thursday in the shooting death of a 14-year-old boy in 2010.
Jeremiah Corbett was convicted of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder in the killing of Horace James Jr. and shootings of two teenage girls. He was also convicted of shooting deadly missiles and possession of a firearm by an adjudicated delinquent.
The jury deliberated for more than three hours.
Corbett faces mandatory life in prison when he's sentenced April 8.
"I feel very relieved and that my brother can finally rest in peace," Markeisha Rivers, James' sister, said of the verdict. "Just being the joyful kid that he was, he didn't deserve to die the way he did."
Prosecutors said Corbett shot James in the head Sept. 25, 2010.
Friends with Corbett that night testified he felt disrespected after becoming involved in an argument between two teenage girls and an ex-boyfriend in a parking lot near Club Menage on University Boulevard in Arlington.
Bryant Smith testified Wednesday that Corbett was responsible for the rapid fire shots that not only killed James (pictured, below) but injured two other teenage girls.
"I didn't know if they were intentionally trying to get rid of witnesses or not," Smith said. "But I'm scared, and I don't say nothing. Because they just got done shooting, and I don't know what's going on. I'm scared and shocked."
Prosecutors showed a recorded interview between Corbett and detectives in which he denied knowing anything about the shooting.
"You know what this looks like? It looks like the world is against you," a detective told Corbett.
"I had nothing to do with nothing. I didn't get in no van with anybody," Corbett said.
In closing arguments Wednesday, prosecutors told jurors this case centered around a bruised ego and a hot temper.
But the defense argued Corbett wasn't the one who pulled the trigger.
"There is no evidence of DNA or fingerprints that ties Jeremiah Corbett to this case," defense attorney Chuck Fletcher said.
James' family said they suffered through the trial in seeking justice for the teen.
"They was clicking through the pictures on the little screen, and I seen the hole in my brother's head, and it hurt me so bad. Why did he have to die like that?" Rivers said.
"I can't sleep at night. All I think about is him," said Chontel Gergar, James' mother. "That was my only son. He was born on Valentine's Day. Every year, I celebrate his birthday. I go to his gravesite and I let him know his mama is still here and will always love him."
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