Jomekia Pope Gets Life Plus 20 Yrs, Denied Parole
Latosha Taylor's family rejoiced as Judge Philip Brown delivered a "Life" sentence to Jomekia Pope inside a Bibb County courtroom Tuesday afternoon.
Judge Brown said he thought long and hard on the decision and had sympathy for everyone involved including Pope and he may consider amending the sentence next month.
While the decision Taylor's family has been waiting so long to hear will soon end their days court, the clan will have to live with what brought them there forever.
"You would think after all these years once you got the verdict you would be ready to celebrate," said Arleshia Pettigrew, Taylor's mother. "It's really not a celebration because this has been seven long years of living hell."
During the two day hearing, Jomekia Pope's team of defense attorney's tried their best to convince Judge Brown that Pope has changed during his seven years in prison and deserves a second chance.
'This person (Pope) has the potential to rehabilitate himself and make a positive impact on society," said Pope's Lead Defense Attorney Dennis Francis as he stood facing Judge Brown in closing arguments.
Brown didn't think so. Pope will never re-enter society as a free man with the life sentence.
Francis requested the felony and malice murder counts be merged by operation of law and the third count of arson run concurrent to the murder charges. He also added his client's guilty plea proves he's taken responsibility.
"It allows you to say that I don't agree with all the facts that the state is putting forward but I'm pleading guilty," said Francis. "So, if that's not taking responsibility, then I really don't know what taking responsibility is."
District Attorney David Cooke counter Francis argument with a closing argument of his own.
"This was a calculated act designed to inflict suffering," said Cooke.
Cooke says Pope only pleaded guilty to save his life and pointed to previous abusive relationships Pope was involved in.
"Well I think his prior criminal history speaks for itself," said Cooke. "I mean he's been a terror to women in the past and thankfully he'll never threaten another woman again."
While disappointed the death penalty was taken off the table, the victim's family is grateful their days in court are coming to an end.
"We'll never forget and there will never be any closure with what happened," said Pettigrew. "Just having to relive this for seven years and the last couple of months, it's just, still painful."
After his sentencing, Pope did ask the judge to speak, but his lawyer did not allow him to. Francis said Pope will be allowed to speak after he appeals the judge's decision.