Man gets 25 years for role in crime that killed pastor’s brother

RAW: Pastor Wiley Jackson addresses arrest in brother's murder

Demetrius Morgan escaped a murder conviction but he didn’t escape a 25-year sentence.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville on Thursday sentenced the 18-year-old Atlantan to 20 years without parole and followed by five years on armed robbery and weapons charges for his role in a high-profile home invasion last year.

“You always have free will,” Glanville told Morgan. “And you exercised a very poor choice and as a result of it a man is dead.”

Morgan’s lawyer April Northcross had asked for a 10-year sentence, saying her client was 16 at the time of the crime, had showed remorse and was a good candidate for rehabilitation. Prosecutor Gabe Banks, contending Morgan could rehabilitate himself in prison, asked for a life sentence.

“I cannot sit here and get into his mind of whether he is truly remorseful,“ Banks told Glanville. “Not even his pastor knows his heart.”

On Wednesday a jury acquitted Morgan of murder charges but convicted him of other charges including armed robbery and participation in a criminal street gang in the home invasion in which 47-year-old Jerrick Jackson was shot multiple times.

Other witnesses testified of at least two other armed robberies Morgan participated in, Banks said.

Jackson’s brother, the Rev. Wiley Jackson, asked the judge to spare Morgan a life sentence to give him some hope of a decent life.

“Yes he has to pay but give him the opportunity sometime in the future to get himself together,” said Jackson, founder of Gospel Tabernacle Church. “He has been a part of some foolish things in this episode. I know we have to send a message to other young people that you can’t do people like this.”

After delivering their verdicts Wednesday, jurors explained they acquitted on the murder charge because of Morgan’s age at the time of the crime and his limited role in the robbery, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said.

Jackson died in his northwest Atlanta home when resisting the robbers May 7, 2013.

Morgan admitted to driving the Mustang and using a credit card stolen in the robbery, which led police to him. But he claimed he didn’t know of a planned robbery until his friends confronted Jackson and his fiancee, Kimberly Little, who were getting out of a black Porche SUV on Lowe Street around 1 a.m.

The couple was forced into the house. Jackson resisted after the gang tried to go upstairs where Little’s 19-year-old daughter was staying after coming home from college, according to testimony.

The case took police months to solve and involved multiple interviews of Morgan, who first claimed he had found Little’s credit card. He was eventually charged with murder, armed robbery, burglary and participation with a criminal street gang in August.

Glanville ruled the five men should be tried separately. One, Alejandro Pitts, testified against Morgan in a exchange for a plea agreement for a 25-year sentence to serve.

The other three, who are awaiting trial, are: Geno Lewis, 20; Felton Lovejoy, 19; and Montravious Bradley, 18.