Jury Convicts Hurricane Katrina Evacuee

A Tarrant County jury has convicted a Hurricane Katrina evacuee of capital murder in the shooting death of a person police say was a drug dealer.

Joemar Jackson was found guilty Monday of the robbery-slaying of 29-year-old Eric Witt.

State District Judge Elizabeth Berry sentenced Jackson to life in prison with no possibility of parole because prosecutors waived the death penalty, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Tuesday in its online edition.

Witt was killed June 23, 2007, by four men looking for drugs and money during a home invasion-robbery.

Jackson's relatives said that he was home with them the night Witt died, but prosecutors said Jackson was identified by witnesses who described clothing that was later found in his house. Even if Jackson wasn't the triggerman, they said, his presence during the robbery made him guilty of capital murder.

But defense attorneys said that Jackson was identified by the real robbers because he was a recent evacuee from New Orleans and that residents of the close-knit Como community stuck together.

Two of Jackson's co-defendants pleaded guilty and were given lighter sentences in exchange for their testimony against Jackson. The third has not yet been tried.

Prosecutors said acquaintances of the co-defendants also identified him.
  Hurricane Katrina made landfall in August 2005.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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