Plea in Murder of FAMU Student

July 22, 2014
By Julie Montanaro

A Tallahassee man convicted of killing a FAMU student in a drug deal turned robbery will spend 25 years in prison for it instead of life.

Courtney Jones was initially found guilty and sentenced to life in prison for the 2007 murder of FAMU student Hugh Cunningham, but an appeals court overturned that conviction, saying jurors should not have heard about Jones's previous criminal record. It ordered a new trial.

This week, court records show, Jones plead no contest to second degree murder and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Prosecutors say they agreed to the plea because it's now seven years later and they had trouble tracking down some important witnesses.

UPDATED 5.3.10 12:30pm

Court records show that Cortney Jones has been sentenced to life in prison for the robbery and murder of Hugh Cunningham, Jr.

This will not be Jones' first trip to prison. Florida Department of Corrections records show he served time before for possession of a sawed off shotgun down in Polk County.

A sentencing hearing is underway in courtroom 3A for convicted killer Cortney Jones.

Cortney Jones was recently convicted of shooting FAMU student Hugh Cunningham to death in a drug deal and robbery back in November 2007.

Cunningham was shot in the parking lot of the Berkshire Manor Apartments as he tried to get out of Jones's car. Prosecutors say Jones forced Cunningham to strip down in the robbery, leaving him naked from the waist down. Neighbors covered Cunningham with towels and tried to stop the bleeding, but neither they nor emergency crews could save him.

We'll let you know when the judge imposes his sentence.

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