Bobby Dejuan Jackson, 27, of Anniston was originally charged with capital murder, which under state law occurs when a defendant kills someone in the commission of another felony, such as a robbery.
If a defendant is found guilty of capital murder, the court has only two sentencing options: capital punishment or life in prison with no chance of parole.
By pleading guilty to a reduced charge of felony murder, Jackson could receive parole eventually, because his life sentences are to be served concurrently, said Bill Broome, Jackson’s attorney.
The sentence agreement was reached between Jackson, prosecutors and the victims’ families. His trial was scheduled to begin next week, according to court records.
Jackson and Jarell Damone Price, 22, of Anniston were charged with killing 62-year-old Thomas E. Dewey Bowen on July 19, 2006, while robbing the Sav-More Texaco on Alabama 144.
Bowen’s daughter Tamiko Newton said Wednesday that another trial would be too painful for the family.
“We just didn’t want to put that much on the family again,” she said. “Daddy’s sisters are all older than he was — he’s the baby of the family — so they’re not in the best of health.”
She appreciated the work of Judge Joel Laird and the district attorney’s office throughout the process.
Newton said Jackson has already spent 1,093 days in jail, which will be credited toward his sentence.
“But when his time is up, when he comes up for parole, we’ll be in Montgomery fighting it,” she said.
Price confessed in police interrogations to shooting Bowen and also shooting at the store’s owner, Jim Cosper. Bowen died from his injuries. Cosper survived and testified at Price’s trial.
Price was convicted of capital murder, attempted murder and first-degree robbery, and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
During the trial, Price’s defense attorneys claimed Jackson directed his actions during the robbery.
“It was a tragedy for Mr. Bowen’s family, Mr. Cosper and his family, and Mr. Jackson’s family, who are really good people,” Broome said Wednesday. “(Jackson) was, from all appearances, a hard-working young man who always had a job after he quit high school in 12th grade, and did something completely out of character which will affect the rest of his life, as well as the Bowens and Mr. Cosper.”
Jackson was in the Cleburne County Jail Wednesday afternoon, according to jail records. He was moved for safety reasons while awaiting trial, according to Broome. He said Price made threats against Jackson at the Calhoun County Jail.
Contact staff writer Rebecca Walker at 256-235-3562.