Tibbs pleaded guilty in September to voluntary manslaughter while armed for Jackson’s murder. He had originally been charged with first-degree murder.
Two weeks earlier, Tibbs’ former co-defendant, Lamonte Perry, was acquitted of first-degree premeditated murder but convicted of obstruction of justice in the case. That trial ended in a mistrial after jurors deadlocked over the lesser-included charge of second-degree murder.
Jackson, 22, was found in the 300 block of Ridge Road Southeast behind an apartment building. He died from multiple gunshot wounds.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Erik Kenerson said “no amount of time that the court could give would bring Jackson back or soothe the pain of his family, but Tibbs admission and evidence should be taken into account.”
“It brings some amount of closure,” the prosecutor said.
But Jackson’s family believes Tibbs got away with murder.
“This man has escaped first-degree murder charges and admitted, out of his own mouth, that he killed my son,” Jackson’s father, Allen Jackson, said in a victim impact statement. “He shot him 17 times.”
As they addressed the court, several members of the Jackson family just wanted to know why the shooting happened.
“We grew up together,” Jackson’s sister, Alanda Jackson, said. “It hurts me to know he killed my brother. What went wrong?”
Tibbs defense attorney, Dominique Winters, argued that there is no doubt that this was a tragedy, but Tibbs wasn’t thinking clearly.
“We have to acknowledge this was a dangerous neighborhood,” Winters said. “He is a product of his environment and his thinking was flawed, but he knows what he did was terrible.”
Tibbs stood up and cleared his throat as he addressed the court: “I’m sorry and I understand, but the truth will reveal itself,” he said, drawing an audible commotion from Jackson’s family and friends. “I took the plea,” he continued, “but soon you’ll see.”
Before delivering her sentence, Judge Rhonda Winston asked Tibbs, “What did you mean the truth will reveal itself?”
Tibbs relayed through his lawyers that Perry had called him that night, telling him that Jackson was “out to get him.” Tibbs believed it was “kill or be killed.”
“I don’t know what Perry told you, but there was no excuse for shooting that man down like that,” Judge Winston said. “Just a lack of human life.”