Jackson sentenced to life in prison
Tears ran down the faces of both the victim’s and defendant’s families in the courtroom on Monday afternoon.
Six years after the attempted robbery of the Lucky Mart convenience store that led to the killing of 21-year-old Joshua Sweitzer, a jury found Keith Lauchon Jackson Jr. guilty of first-degree murder and attempted robbery with a firearm.
Superior Court Judge John O. “Joe” Craig III sentenced Jackson to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
After hearing closing arguments, the jury deliberated a little more than three hours before reaching a verdict at 3:15 p.m.
Security was tightened for the sentencing. There were seven bailiffs and a K-9 and its handler in the courtroom. On June 3, the first day of the trial, Jackson escaped from officers as they were returning him to the courtroom. Officers found him hiding in the bushes beside a courthouse parking deck.
One of Jackson’s sisters broke down in the courtroom and had to be escorted outside, while his brother had a severe asthma attack and his grandmother began having chest pains. Both his grandmother and his brother were transported to High Point Regional UNC Health System. Their conditions were unknown Monday evening.
Sweitzer’s grandfather, Ray Williams, said now his family can begin to heal.
“I’m happy it’s over now and it went on way too long,” Williams said.
Chari Goins, Jackson’s sister, said justice was not served.
“This trial has been biased from the beginning, however I believe in God and I know that he is with my brother,” Goins said. “My family sends our condolences but the victim’s family is not the only one who has suffered a loss. I pray that God is with the victim’s family.”
After more than a week of presenting testimony and evidence from the Oct. 31, 2007, shooting Assistant District Attorney Walt Jones is glad to ensure the residents of High Point that Jackson will no longer be on the streets.
“We are very happy with the outcome of the day. If you consider all the things he has done, our community will be safer without him around,” Jones said.
Jackson’s lawyer, Robert Sharpe, plans to appeal the ruling that was handed down on Monday.
Jackson is currently serving a 54-year federal prison sentence for his role in a string of what prosecutors termed gang-related armed robberies of stores in High Point and Davidson County in 2007 and 2008.
He will begin serving his time for this sentencing after that expires.
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