A judge on Wednesday sentenced an Anniston man to life imprisonment for the 2015 shooting death of an Oxford teen.
Jerald Bailey, 25, of Anniston, had been found guilty of manslaughter in the death of 17-year-old Broderick Taylor II , who was shot and killed Oct. 30, 2015. Bailey had originally been charged with murder.
During the trial last month, prosecutors argued Bailey intentionally aimed a gun at Taylor and pulled the trigger after the two had been in a physical altercation. Appointed defense attorney Will Broome Jr. argued that Bailey, who testified he shot Taylor, did so accidently.
Jurors deliberated four hours before they decided Bailey was guilty of manslaughter, a Class B felony, rather than murder.
During the hearing Wednesday before Calhoun County Circuit Judge Bud Turner, Bailey appeared with a hired Birmingham attorney, Matthew Bailey. Calhoun County District Attorney Brian McVeigh called Taylor’s mother, Sharonda Ball, to the stand.
Ball said Taylor couldn’t see the bad in people.
“He could see past the evilness,” Ball said, talking to Bailey who was seated in front of her in the jury box. “If only we had more people like him, but instead we have more like you.”
Ball struggled to keep speaking. Her sentences were punctuated by deep breaths and sniffles.
“Brod’s death broke our hearts into a million pieces,” she said. “You have given us restless days, sleepless nights. We’re struggling to keep our sanity. This grief is unrelenting. We plead for justice.”
McVeigh asked the judge to “send a strong message from the court.”
“We’re asking for the maximum punishment,” he said. According to state law, Bailey was eligible for a minimum sentence of 20 years, because of two prior felony convictions, and a maximum of life with the possibility of parole.
Bailey’s attorney called his client’s sister to the stand to testify. Jerica Bailey said she and her brother were always close.
“We’re a year a part,” she said. “Everyone’s perception of him is not how he is. This is not him; I don’t care what anyone heard or said. This is not who he is. He has a heart of gold.”
Bailey’s voice began to fill the courtroom as she became more impassioned about her brother’s situation. Bailey, who was not present for the trial, professed her brother’s innocence in the shooting. She explained that her brother may not appear remorseful but he was for the loss of life.
“He may not open up to you because he’s hurting,” she said. “He’s remorseful. He has to wake up and go to sleep with this on his mind. You can call him whatever you want, drug addict, pothead, but you cannot say he’s a murderer.”
“Yes you can,” a woman said sitting with Taylor’s family.
Bailey turned to her brother and spoke to him.
“You’re so strong to be sitting up here, holding everything in,” she said. “I know it’s killing you. You’re taking all this heat from the streets, people that you thought knew you, loved you. Don’t ever let anyone disgrace you, or let you think you’re less.”
Matthew Bailey asked the judge to consider either a split sentence or one closer to the minimum.
Turner sentenced Bailey to life in prison and ordered him to pay court costs and restitution to Taylor’s family. Bailey’s attorney gave an oral notice that they’ll appeal the case.