Earl Jackson Sentenced To 20 Years In DOC

By: Julie Montanaro/ Amy Long/Ashley Mitchem Email
By: Julie Montanaro/ Amy Long/Ashley Mitchem Email

UPDATE: by Ashley Mitchem on 11/14/11 9:20 p.m.
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Earl Jackson was found guilty of possession of a firearm and carrying a concealed weapon the night an innocent bystander was shot and killed at the Circle K on Lake Bradford Road back in March 2009.
Jackson took the stand Monday afternoon and told the victim's mother he was sorry and vowed to stay out of trouble in the future.
His parents also took the stand to address the courtroom.

Both parents told the court that their son's time in prison has changed him.

Yet Tallahassee Police testified that Jackson was a member of a westside gang and had been in trouble before.

The judge sentenced Jackson to 20 years in prison.
Five years for carrying a concealed weapon, which is a felony in the third degree and 15 for possession of a firearm by a delinquent...he's already served 961 days, which will count as time served.
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One of the accused trigger men in a fatal gang shootout will stand trial, but not before trying to re-define the stand your ground law.

Earl Jackson and others fired aimlessly into a parking lot where more than 150 people were. Testimony heard Friday call the scene chaos.

Judge Tamayo says "After having heard Jackson's defense , the court is going to deny it and follow it up with a written finding."

There was not an open seat in the courtroom as Earl Jackson walked by the gallery on his way back to the Leon County Jail.

The 21-year-old claimed he was defending himself back in March of 2009 when gang members opened fire and killed bystander Curtis Brown at a Circle K in Tallahassee.

But on Friday, the judge agreed with the state, saying Jackson was not standing his ground, only adding to the violence that night.

Suspected shooter and seven time convicted felon, Darvaunta Vaughn says he too was defending himself that night when he fired at least 2 shots into a crowd of people.

"When I saw the gun fire coming my way I just panicked, didn't even think, just panicked." says Darvaunta Vaughn.

Vaughn testified he was pumping gas when the first shot was fired, he panicked - and then found a gun on the ground and fired towards the building."
State attorney John Hutchins asks, "So it's your testimony that there was a gun just laying on the ground?" Vaughn answered," Yea." Hutchins asks, "You didn't go to your car and get that gun?"," No." Vaughn answered.

The state says the surveillance video tells another story.

SGT Wiley Meggs with the Leon County Sheriff's Office, says he watched the video and when the shooting starts,"He runs to his car and after retrieving an item returns from his car and he fires two to three shots."

Defense attorney asks,"Is it safe to say you were afraid while you were firing that weapon.", "Yea" replied Vaughn.

Neither Vaughn nor Jackson made the fatal shot that killed Brown.
Vaughn will find out if his motion is accepted - and the case is dismissed - or if it is denied in the coming weeks.

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[UPDATE] 4-1 2:37pm --

Jackson’s motion for protection under the "Stand Your Ground" law is denied. A case management hearing is set for April 27.
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UPDATE 3/31/2011 by Amy Long --

Earl Jackson was one of the first suspects behind bars for a gang shootout that killed a man at the Circle K on Lake Bradford Road in Tallahassee.

The shooting happened in March 29, 2009. The cross fire killed innocent by stander, 26 year-old Curtis Brown, and injured at least eight other people.

However, Jackson claims he was firing in self defense and defense attorneys say he's protected by the stand your ground law.

Jackson's defense attorney says, "Mr Jackson does have a right to stand his ground, meet force with force, and fire back."

Jackson's defense says a bullet from the outside of the Circle K shattered the glass door and that's when Jackson came out and fired a shot to defend himself.

State attorney John Hutchins says Jackson wasn't standing his ground, only adding to violence and instead of finding safety further back in the store, he went back outside and fired a shot.

The defense says there's another undisputed fact that should clear Jackson. "Curtis Brown was shot before Jackson fired his gun. It cannot be a felony murder because the murder had already preceded any of that." says defense attorneys.

The judge will come back with her decision Friday 4/1.

Five people are accused in the murder of Curtis Brown. Three of them are seeking protection under the stand your ground law.

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Update 4/9/09

Charges have been upgraded against one of the suspects in a gang shootout at a Tallahassee gas station. Police say 24 year old Darvaunta Vaughn is now charged with murder, shooting into a building and shooting a firearm in public for his role in the shootout outside the Circle K on Lake Bradford Road on March 29.
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UPDATE 4.3.09 9:51am by Julie Montanaro

The Leon County Sheriff's Office has now upgraded charges against Earl Jackson to felony murder.

An analysis of the store surveillance tape, deputies say, shows at least five, possibly seven shooters. They believe at least 30 shots were fired that night.

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UPDATE 4.2.09 by Julie Montanaro

Two more men are under arrest in connection with a deadly gang shoot out in Tallahassee and investigators say there may be more gunshot victims out there too.

Breyon Gay is now in jail down in Alachua County.

He is accused of firing the first shot in a gunfight outside the
Circle K on Lake Bradford Road Sunday. He now faces felony murder charges in the death of 26 year old Curtis Brown.

Deputies say they got information that Gay was staying with a relative in Gainesville and tried to convince him to turn himself in.

"We were trying to get him to surrender himself before somebody harmed him ... not being law enforcement, but somebody from one of the other gangs ... and we couldn't talk him into it," Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell said.

Alachua County deputies surrounded a house on Southeast 49th Street and say Gay came out with his hands up when he realized they were moving in.

24 year old Christopher Harvey was arrested Thursday morning.

He is accused of picking up one of the guns used in the shooting and trying to hide it.

Investigators also say they've discovered a 7th person who was shot that night, but didn't seek medical attention and suspect there may be other gunshot victims who are afraid to come forward.

Funeral services are now set for shooting victim Curtis Brown.
They are set for next Saturday, April 11th at 2 p.m. at
Greater St. Marks Primitive Baptist Church on Highway 27 North in Tallahassee. Richardson's Family Funeral Care is handling the arrangements.

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UPDATE 4.1.09 by Julie Montanaro

24 year old Darvaunta Vaughn was arrested Tuesday night and charged with carrying a concealed weapon and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon for his role in a shoot out outside the Circle K on Lake Bradford Road Sunday. He is the second man to be arrested in connection with the shooting. 18 year old Earl Jackson is already in custody.

Deputies were able to spot Vaughn on surveillance video. They say he was near the gas pumps and was shooting back toward the store.

Deputies are still looking for Breyon Gay in connection with the shooting and say they are working to identify more shooting suspects.

26 year old Curtis Brown was caught in the cross fire and killed in the shootout.
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UPDATE 3.31.09 6:45pm by Julie Montanaro

A second man is now wanted in a deadly gang shoot out in front of a Tallahassee convenience store.

Investigators say at least four men opened fire the night 26 year old Curtis Brown was killed and slowly but surely they say, they'll find them.

The sheriff calls the shoot out in front of the Circle K Sunday morning "unprecedented" gang warfare in Tallahassee and it cost an innocent bystander his life.

Now, detectives say, they know who started it.

21 year old Breyon Gay, a northside gang member, is accused of firing the first shots near the bike rack and he is now wanted for felony murder.

"In Florida, if you commit a felony and during that felony anybody is killed as a result - directly or indirectly - of your actions, you are just as responsible for that person's death as if you pulled the trigger yourself," said LCSO Spokesman Tony Drzewiecki.

Gay is the second man identified as having his finger on the trigger that night.

18 year old Earl Jackson, a west side gang member, is already under arrest and detectives anticipate more arrests.

As many as 150 people may have witnessed the shooting, but many have been reluctant to talk.

Family members of 26 year old Curtis Brown, who deputies say was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, are hoping those witnesses will do the right thing.

"Nobody want to come forward, but everybody was at the store. Ya'll know who did this. Ya'll know ... you know what I'm saying ... ya'll seen this. It wasn't just my eyes that saw it. I'm not the only one sleeping with this nightmare," Brown's cousin said.

Gay was one of six men shot outside the store that night. He was shot in the buttocks. Deputies say he was questioned at the hospital, but then released.

Anyone with information on Gay's whereabouts or the other shooters in this deadly confrontation is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 850-574-TIPS.

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UPDATE 3.31.09 2:55pm

Deputies are now looking for 21 year old Breyon Gay. Deputies say he was the first to fire shots in what turned out to be a shootout among at least four people. Gay is a member of the northside gang and deputies say he is known to frequent Joe Louis Street and Crosby Lane.

Gay is facing felony murder charges. Deputies say it does not matter if he is the one who fired the shot that killed 26 year old Curtis Brown, under the law, they say, his actions led to Brown's death and thus he faces murder charges when caught.

Deputies say they are still looking for at least two other shooting suspects.
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UPDATE 3.30.09 7:10pm by Julie Montanaro

Deputies now say a man killed in a hail of gunfire in Tallahassee this weekend was not the target. He was caught in the crossfire of two gangs.

26 year old Curtis Brown was shot right in front of the Circle K and it turns out his sisters and cousins were there too and witnessed the whole thing.

Curtissa Butts says she will never get it out of her head. Her brother was leaning up against her car window and smiling one minute and the next minute he was gone.

"All I heard, sounded like fireworks, just pop, pop, pop, pop," Butts said she heard two bouts of gunfire before jumping out of her car to find her brother lying on the ground.

"And I just couldn't see my brother like that, I just wanted my brother to get up. And it seemed like a dream. I just wait for my brother to walk through the door, but I'm not going to ever see my brother again," Butts said.

Brown's cousin was there too, but she was afraid to share her name or show her face on camera.

"I was like, he was in the crossfire. He couldn't go nowhere if he wanted to run, he couldn't run nowhere, because he was right there in front of the store," she said.

Curtis Brown was killed - and 5 others injured - early Sunday morning as gunfire erupted outside the Circle K on Lake Bradford Road. Deputies now say there were at least four people firing shots. The shots not only shattered store windows, but lodged in the canopy above the gas pumps and even in the Popeye's next door.

The sheriff calls it a gang confrontation and its magnitude, he says, is unprecedented in Tallahassee.

"People that were just absolutely bam, bam, bam, bam, like that and no particular target in mind. Just everybody else was shooting, so we're shooting too," Sheriff Larry Campbell said.

Campbell said Brown was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and not associated with either gang.

"I think one of those guys intentionally shot my son," Mary Brown said outside her Springhill Road home Monday.

Friends and family gathered there to comfort each other.

Brown's mother is not convinced her son wasn't targeted and she hopes that some of the estimated 150 people at Circle K that night will come forward and help find the man or men who pulled the trigger.

"I would tell them to turn themselves in because sooner or later they're going to get caught," his mother said.

18 year old Earl Jackson was arrested Sunday on weapons charges. He has not been charged with murder at this point.

Detectives say they are still trying to track down and interview more than a dozen people and do expect more arrests.

Deputies are not releasing the names of the other five people who were shot. They said all have been treated and released from hospital.

The sheriff says the Circle K does not have any private after hours security, but a spokesman for the company that owns the store would not comment on that or anything else.

Curtis Brown's mother says he attended Pineview Elementary School, Nims Middle School and had gone through the tenth grade at TMI.

His mother says he has two children, ages five and ten.

Funeral arrangements are not yet set.

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A Tallahassee gang member is behind bars for his alleged involvement in a shooting that left one man dead, but deputies say other shooters may still be on the loose.

Deputies say a member of the Holton Street gang is now locked up for firing a .38 caliber pistol at the Circle K and McDonald's off Lake Bradford Road.

A Leon County deputy on patrol heard gunshots and witnessed mass panic outside of the gas station around 4:20 Sunday morning.

18-year-old Earl Jackson has been arrested for firing some of the shots in the altercation.

Jackson says he thought people were gathered to fight and when he approached one of the other people in the group whipped out a gun and started firing. Deputies say that's when Jackson fired back.

Deputies are still searching for other suspects involved.

26-year-old Curtis Brown died in the shootout and four others where injured but are expected to recover.

Deputies say it's unknown at this time whether Curtis Brown was involved with the suspects or just happened to be caught in the cross-fire.

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Police are looking for leads on a fatal shooting that happened early March 29th.

Around 4:30AM 26 year old Curtis Brown was shot and killed in the parking area of the Circle-K on Lake Bradford Road.

Four others were also shot and taken to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and Capital Regional Medical Center but are expected to fully recover.

The manager from Circle-K says the glass doors and a window were shot and shattered.

Deputies say they don't have a description of the suspect or a motive yet.

Police blocked off the parking lot of the Circle-K and McDonald's as they continue to search for evidence.

Officials are in the process of reviewing store surveillance tape and interviewing witnesses.

If you have any information about this shooting, call Crime stoppers at (850)574-8477.
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As of 4:51 p.m., there are no updates on the Circle K shooting.
More details will be provided as they become available.
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Leon County Sheriff's Office identified 26-year old Curtis Brown as the deceased victim of the shooting at the Circle K convenience store located at 811 Lake Bradford.

A frightened crowd of about 150 people were seen bolting out of the McDonald's/Circle K around 4:20am Sunday morning.

Officers quickly learned one male victim had been shot dead in the front parking lot and that another male had been wounded by a gun shot.

As police investigated, they learned three additional people arrived at the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital Emergency Room and one person arrived to Capital Regional Medical Center with non-life threatening gun shot wounds as a result of this incident. They are all expected to recover.

Violent Crime Detectives are interviewing witnesses and reviewing store surveillance tape.

At this time there is no known motive or suspect description.

Sheriff Larry Campbell said “this senseless killing and gun violence will not be tolerated in our community."

If anyone has information, please call crime stoppers at 850-574-TIPS(8477).

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Four people are in the hospital and another is dead following a shooting at a Tallahassee convenience store.

Leon County Sheriff's deputies say the incident took place a little before 4:30 Sunday morning at the Circle K on Lake Bradford Road.

One man was pronounced dead at the scene and another was transported to a local hospital.

Three others went to the hospital, on their own, with gun shot wounds.

Deputies are still investigating the shooting and no other information could be given at this time.

We'll update you as soon as it becomes available.
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Updated: 6 a.m. Sunday March 29, 2009

Two people are in the hospital and another is dead following a shooting at a Tallahassee convenience store.

The incident took place at the Circle K on Lake Bradford Road.

One man has been confirmed dead.

Two others were taken to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital with gun shot wounds.

Deputies are not releasing anymore information at this time.

We'll update you as soon as it becomes available.
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A shooting took place at the Circle K on Lake Bradford Road early Sunday morning.

One man has been confirmed dead.

Deputies are not releasing anymore information at this time.

We'll update you as soon as it becomes available.


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