New Haven man, 20 gets 38 years in prison in shooting death of another city man, 19
NEW HAVEN -- Mothers wept on both sides of the courtroom Friday as Darius Jackson, 20, was sentenced to serve 38 years in prison for the shooting death of Michael Holland, who was just 19.
Jackson pleaded guilty two months ago to first-degree manslaughter with a firearm rather than risk going to trial on a murder charge and receiving an even longer term. He apologized to Holland's family and to his family Friday before the sentence was imposed.
Holland was found lying on Third Street near Howard Avenue on the night of July 30, 2010. He had a gunshot wound to his chest. After being taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital, he was pronounced dead.
Defense attorney Richard Silverstein told Superior Court Judge Roland Fasano that by all accounts, "this was over a woman. He (Jackson) acted on his emotions."
Jackson, dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit, said the shooting was an accident. He added he needs to "move on with my life" but he closed by saying, "I would like again to apologize to both sides."
Holland's mother, Germaine Holland-Williams, struggled to control her emotions as she read a poem in the courtroom entitled "The Broken Chain":
"I little knew that morning God was going to call your name,
In life I loved you dearly, in death I do the same.
It broke my heart to lose you, you did not go alone,
for part of me went with you, the day God called you home. Continued...
You left me beautiful memories, your love is still my guide,
and though we cannot see you, you're always at my side.
Our family chain is broken and nothing seems the same,
but as God calls us one by one, the chain will link again."
While the poem was being read, Jackson's aunt, Vanessa Holland, who helped raise him, sobbed at an adjacent chair. She was unable to speak.
Referring to Jackson's mother, Sasha Jordan, who was also crying in the courtroom, Holland-Williams told Fasano, "She lost her son too. I have no ill feelings for her or for her son."
Holland-Williams then walked across the courtroom aisle and tearfully hugged Jordan.
Fasano noted the crime was "tragic for two families. One child is lost for all eternity; the defendant is looking at a sentence that to him appears to be an eternity. Both families are left to mourn."
"We're seeing this far too often," Fasano added. "We're here week after week, looking at families that are devastated. I don't know when or how it will stop."
Silverstein told Fasano that Jackson suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was a child, which went untreated. Continued...
Silverstein also told Fasano the agreed-upon sentence was "harsher than what I had hoped." But he added, "I understand the cry for punishment in cases like this."
"He took a life and he wasted a life," Silverstein noted. "Now he faces three decades in prison. I don't know what kind of a man he'll be when he gets out. I hope he can make amends to the families and the community."
Call Randall Beach at 203-789-5766. To receive breaking news first, text the word NHNEWS to 22700. *Msg + data rates may apply. Text HELP for help. Text STOP to cancel.