33 years for murder
Published 7:49 pm Monday, May 4, 2015
An emotional sentencing hearing in Suffolk Circuit Court on Monday told the story of a young man who once had great promise but threw it all away on a life of crime.
When it was over, 23-year-old Jeffrey O’Neil Jennings was sentenced to 33 years to serve for the shooting death of Lloyd Randolph Green Sr., 26, on June 29, 2013, in the 1000 block of Cogic Square. He also received 5.5 years for violating his probation on grand larceny and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute charges.
Judge L. Wayne Farmer called the shooting of Green “one of the more egregious second-degree murder charges I’ve heard.” Jennings initially was charged with first-degree murder but pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, as well as a host of other charges connected with the crime.
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Prosecutor Will Jamerson said evidence in the trial would have shown that Jennings approached Green and shot him once, then four more times as he lay on the ground. Jamerson suggested the disagreement might have been over a woman both men knew, though Jennings hasn’t admitted to that.
Green left behind four children, in addition to many family members. About a dozen of them — including his mother, siblings, the mothers of his children and some of the children themselves — were present at Monday’s hearing.
Green’s aunt, Vivian Tucker, testified for the family in the hearing.
“Some of the children are going through a lot,” she said, noting they were suffering nightmares and were in counseling. “It’s had an impact on the whole family and the children. At the end of the day, the children are not going to see their father.”
Angela Hicks, Jennings’ mother, recalled how she raised Jennings and his older sister as a single mother. Jennings assumed the protector role, though he was the youngest, and helped around the house to help his mother avoid stress.
She told of extremely high academic potential, recalling honor roll placements and gifted classes for her son. He had perfect scores on his Standards of Learning tests in middle school and talked about becoming a math teacher or math professor.
His father testified, too, as did pastor Ben Fitzgerald of Tabernacle Christian Church.
Fitzgerald said Jennings has shown “immense sorrow” about the murder.
“We’re pleading for mercy in this sentencing,” Fitzgerald said.
But Jamerson argued that Jennings’ crimes had escalated, noting that one of his earlier charges stemmed from a purse-snatching from a 78-year-old victim.
“I want to apologize to everybody affected by my actions,” Jennings said just before Farmer imposed the sentence.
Farmer said Jennings’ promise had been “thrown away.”
“Look at the destruction you have caused,” Farmer said. “You’ve destroyed two families, and as I sit here today, I’m not even sure why. I hope it wasn’t over a girl.”