An emotional Jujuana Nicole Sawyer told a judge Wednesday that her father, who was shot to death nearly two decades ago by a 16-year-old Baton Rouge boy, never got to see her become a police officer and never got to meet his two grandchildren.
Sawyer urged state District Judge Richard Anderson to once again sentence Montreal Jackson, now 36, to life in prison without the possibility of parole in the Oct. 4, 1998, killing of her dad, Kerwin Taylor. He was 39.
Anderson, who presided over Jackson's second-degree murder trial in 2001, first sentenced him to life without parole, but in 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court declared automatic life terms for juveniles unconstitutional. The high court said juvenile killers are entitled to hearings to try and show they are capable of reform.
Reiterating the belief that “children who commit even heinous crimes are capable of change,”…
After conducting that hearing in August, Anderson ruled Wednesday — after Sawyer spoke — that Jackson is "irreparably corrupt" and again sentenced him to life without parole.
In its 2012 decision, the Supreme Court left it to lower courts to distinguish between "the rare juvenile offender whose crime reflects irreparable corruption" and the young offender whose crime shows "unfortunate yet transient immaturity."
Jackson told Anderson on Wednesday that he has matured, but the judge said his 49 prison disciplinary infractions in his Department of Corrections record argue otherwise.
Sawyer, a police officer in Texas, acknowledged that she believes in second chances and that people can be rehabilitated, but said Jackson has demonstrated he belongs behind bars for the rest of his life.
"He has shown no remorse. He's arrogant. I don't think he cares," she told the judge.
Calling him "irreparably corrupt," a prosecutor claims a man who was 16 in 1998 when he fata…
Sawyer, who is engaged, reminded Anderson that she will never see her father again, and he will never see her children, now 6 and 7 years old.
"They'll never be able to meet their grandfather," she said. "My father was a great person. He worked hard."
At the time of his death, Taylor was a U.S. Army veteran and self-employed painter with seven sisters and six brothers.
Trial testimony indicated Jackson fatally shot Taylor on North 36th Street while stealing his gold bicycle.
"He killed my father over material things," Sawyer said.
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said afterward that Anderson's ruling denying parole eligibility to Jackson is "entirely consistent" with the evidence and testimony in the court record.
"Through his own testimony, as well as his DOC record, it was evident that he has no respect for authority, no remorse for the murder he committed and has no self-control," Moore said. "After 19 years Montreal Jackson exhibits the identical character that led to the senseless murder of Mr. Taylor."
Jackson defended his prison conduct record as average and argued that he "went to jail as a kid." While behind bars, he said, he obtained his GED, or general equivalency diploma.
"I'm not a violent person. Never really have been," Jackson said, adding that he shouldn't die in prison. "I do deserve a second chance. I'm not the person I was when I came to prison."
Jackson's attorney, Mummi Ibrahim, told Anderson that Jackson has demonstrated the capacity to be rehabilitated.
Ibrahim said she will ask Anderson to reconsider his ruling, then take the case to the state 1st Circuit Court of Appeal. Ibrahim said she feels Jackson's chances will be better down the line in the federal court system.
She argued Jackson is not "beyond redemption."
"They expect him to magically become this adult who makes no mistakes," she said.
Ibrahim said Jackson maintains his innocence.
Sawyer said after court she's grateful the judge ruled the way he did.
"I didn't feel like he was ready to go back into society," she said of Jackson.
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