Family and Friends Protest Sentencing in Shootout

December 1, 2011 by Julie Montanaro

A sentence handed down in a deadly gang shootout brought protestors to the Leon County courthouse lawn today.

Family and friends of Earl Jackson say his maximum sentence on minor charges is out of line.

They carried signs demanding "Justice for Jackson." Earl Jackson. A judge recently sentenced him to 20 years in prison for his role in a shootout at the Circle K that cost an innocent bystander his life.

"By being out here tonight, today it's showing that we're not giving up on Earl or the kids to come who find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time," Earl Jackson, Sr. said as he held a sign reading "Free Earl."

Jackson was one of five men arrested in the shootout. At trial he was found not guilty of the more serious charges of felony murder, attempted murder and discharging a firearm.

He was found guilty of carrying a concealed weapon and possesion of a firearm by a delinquent.

Judge Josefina Tamayo sentenced him to the maximum for each for a total of 20 years behind bars.

The rub, protestors say, is the very next day, Tamayo sentenced co-defendant Darvaunta Vaughn to just eight years on similar charges.

"I think all attorneys can accept that there are going to be harsh rulings. There wouldn't be a protest if there was a harsh ruling so long as it's all consistent and here we just don't have the consistency," said Jackson's attorney Craig Brown.

"i really thought he was going to come home you know with them giving him 20 years, they might as well have just charged him with everything, " said Jackson's cousin Shauntell Smith.

More than a dozen family and friends protested in front of the courthouse Thursday.

Jackson's lawyer is requesting a hearing to address what he calls a sentencing error.

The judge had no comment and neither did the family of Curtis Brown ... the innocent bystander killed in the crossfire that night.

We did talk to prosecutor John Hutchins. He said he had no comment on the protest, but pointed out Vaughn took responsibility for his actions that night and agreed to testify for the state at trial.

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  • by Sincere In thoughts and deeds Location: sc on Dec 24, 2011 at 11:50 AM
    It is sad to see so many people commenting to this post out of ignorance. I don't understand how could the world still have so many prejudice people in it (both white and black). If either one of you saw the other you wouldn't dare voice these hypocritical comments. The internet gave all weak people a voice and a Brave heart huh?
  • by Lisa on Dec 8, 2011 at 10:45 PM
    Anonymous, shut up! Simply because you're spell checking before you post doesn't make you smarter than the next person. I don't agree with his father but 20yrs is too much. And as far as the racial comments, I see you made an "educated" decision to keep your identity protected:)
  • by God Bless America Location: tally on Dec 5, 2011 at 05:40 PM
    He supplied the weapon. He is just as guilty as the one who pulled the trigger. If he didn't have a weapon, there wouldn't have been a murder. Lock him up Danno...20 parole.
  • by sierra Location: tally on Dec 5, 2011 at 09:57 AM
    Hey ProTesTors and difference is one has a prison record and a list of felonis Mr.Jackson dnt... so y he get 8 and earl get 20... yall needa hush if u dnt have anything postive to say bcuz u gettn a hole bunch of mess started wen u dnt even kno dha story and if u was there that nite u dnt kno wat happen.. wat u say dnt matter and ya'll ackin like u dnt like black people well if u dnt dnt like stop postin stuff u wastin yo time wat u say dnt matter....
    • reply
      by Living Proof on Dec 5, 2011 at 04:05 PM in reply to sierra
      And there folks is proof that an illiterate can use a computer. Can not imagine what it says, but . . .
  • by rob on Dec 3, 2011 at 08:15 AM
    Hey Protestors...the difference between the two sentencings are took responsiblity for his actions and the other did not. I hope that explains it.
  • by I just don't believe it. Location: tallahassee on Dec 3, 2011 at 06:37 AM
    I just can't understand how people can support a piece of trash like this. Unbelievable!!!
  • by Karma Location: Tallahassee on Dec 2, 2011 at 07:40 PM
    Let him go free, and let the savages eat each other.
  • by Jake on Dec 2, 2011 at 04:57 PM
    I heard he was coming home from Church ans was mistaken for a gangster.
  • by Give Me a Break on Dec 2, 2011 at 04:12 PM
    Finally a Judge that is willing to match the punishment to the crime! Thank you Judge Josefina Tamayo for doing what you were elected and paid to do.
  • by larry on Dec 2, 2011 at 03:47 PM
    "Mr." Jackson, had it been your kid who was killed you wouldn't be protesting the punishment of the involved. You people need to TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR ACTIONS, your son SHOULD BE IN JAIL FOR LIFE, he was involved in a murder. But of course, you play the victim card, when YOUR SON and his thug friends CAUSED THIS. So very typical.
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