UPDATE: Tremaine Jackson sentenced to life in prison with mercy

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — 10:15 a.m. Friday, March 26, 2021: The man found guilty of shooting and killing another man receives his sentence. Tremaine Jackson could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Two weeks after a jury found Tremaine Jackson guilty of the murder of Troy Williams, he faced a judge again for his sentencing.

Jackson shot and killed Williams in the Pet Supplies Plus Parking lot in Beckley in May of 2020. But in court on Friday, March 26, 2021 Jackson stuck to his story that he was not the one to pull the trigger.

“I never shot the man. There was never a gun in my hand,” Jackson said.

Judge Robert Burnside did not buy his story. He sentenced Jackson to life in prison, with the opportunity of parole in 45 years. When delivering the sentence, Judge Burnside had some questions for Jackson about the day he tried to sell fake drugs to Williams for $4,000.

“What exactly did you think was going to happen? How else was this going to turn out?” Burnside said.

Jackson did turn to Williams’ family and showed some remorse for his actions.

“I’m sorry for what I did to your grandson and son. I hope one day you can forgive me for the part that I played in that. But I did not murder Troy Williams,” said Jackson.

But the family shook their heads in response.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Brian Parsons said the hearing could have gone differently, but he is thankful the judge ruled Jackson to serve his sentences consecutively.

“Treat the defendant the way he treated the victim. And when you shoot a man on the ground who is unarmed, for money, I think it’s hard to justify having much leniency or empathy for that person,” Parsons said.


BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — 1:15 p.m. Friday, March 5, 2021: The jury returned a verdict in the trial for Tremaine Jackson. After completing deliberations on Friday morning, they found Jackson guilty of First Degree Murder in the death of Troy Williams.

The jury offered a recommendation of mercy on the murder charge. Jackson was also found guilty on three other charges, including being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Sentencing is scheduled for March 26, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. Jackson could face life in prison.

After all the testimonies and video evidence, prosecuting attorney Brian Parsons pieced together what happened the day of the murder. He said four people got into a car in Charleston with the intention to meet with Troy Williams, and sell him rock salt as meth. They met Williams at the Pet Supplies Plus parking lot in Beckley, after realizing the Walmart parking lot had too many cameras.
Araena Kersey testified Williams tasted the meth, and realized it was rock salt. She then testified she took out her gun, pointed it to Troy’s head, and said give me the money. Witnesses said Jackson pulled Williams out of the car, and pointed a gun at him, asking for the money. Troy reached for his pocket, and Jackson shot him. Shortly after, Troy pulled out money from his pocket.

In the defense attorney’s closing argument, Kris Kostenko argued the shot which killed Williams had to come from someone in the car.

“No bullet casings found on the outside of that car,” Kostenko said.

But in Parson’s rebuttal, he showed evidence that would prove otherwise. There was no blood or bullet casings inside the car.

Possibly the most impactful moments of Parson’s closing arguments were when he read the letters from Tremaine to witnesses out loud to the jury.

“I’m just wanting out of here. So I can live my life. That’s something Troy Williams didn’t get,” Parsons read the letters.


Thursday, Mar, 4, 2021 at 7 p.m. UPDATE: The trial continues for the murder of Troy Williams. On Thursday, Mar. 4, 2021 prosecution rested after their last witness, lead investigator Detective Nick Walters.

Walters presented multiple evidence videos of the white ford fusion leaving the apartment in Charleston, going to Walgreens, and then eventually the Beckley Walmart, proving Jackson was in Beckley the day of the murder. He also discussed text messages he discovered, which he said are between Jackson and Williams. He said these messages prove the two were scheduling a drug deal.

“This message is from Troy to Tremaine. It says Eisenhower Drive or Mabscott,” said Walters in court.

Once Jackson took the stand, he testified he never knew Williams. Someone from Southern Regional Jail testified earlier in the week, explained the men shared a cell in prison.

During the defense’s opening statements, Defense Attorney Kris Kostenko said there would be no proof Jackson was even in Beckley.

“Any evidence of Mr. Jackson in Beckley. None,” Kostenko said earlier in the week.

But then Jackson testified he was present during the whole crime.

“Are you admitting that you rode to Beckley on the day in question in a white ford fusion?” asked Prosecuting Attorney Brian Parsons. “Yes,” Jackson answered.

During cross examination, Parsons asked Jackson if he threatened the other people in the car through letters. He then read letters from Jackson to the witnesses.

“Why won’t you put it on James? He died. It can’t hurt him,” Parsons read the letters to Tremaine and the jury.

The jury will meet back in the courtroom on Friday morning to hear closing arguments. Then they will deliberate and deliver a verdict.


UPDATE: Mar, 3, 2021 7 p.m. BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — It was an intense day in the courtroom on Wednesday, Mar. 3, 2021 for the third day of trial for Tremaine Jackson. He is charged with the murder of Troy Williams.

The prosecution continued to call witnesses, including two people who said they were in the car at the time of the crime. First, was Tohosha Ugbomah, who did not give many details about the crime, but confirmed some of the story. She testified she was the one who drove the car away from the scene of the crime.

Then, Araena Kersey testified, who is also charged in this case. She said all the people in the car were involved in the crime. She testified she witnessed Jackson kill Williams.

“He got shot,” she said. “By who,” asked the prosecutor. “Tremaine,” she answered.

She also described to the jury the moments leading up to the crime. She said Jackson was asking Williams to give him money for counterfeit drugs, and he would not comply.

“Tremaine Jackson is demanding this money, Troy Williams keeps telling him no, and at some point, Troy goes to reach into his pocket, and Tremaine shoots him, doesn’t he,” asked the prosecutor. “Yeah,” Kersey answered. “And what comes out of that pocket,” the prosecutor asked. “The money,” she answered.

Jurors heard from other witnesses, including the medical examiner, Dr. Donald Pojman. He helped the jury decipher the graphic photos of Williams’ body after the autopsy.

“The bullet stopped at the muscles in the back. It doesn’t actually have an exit. This was a penetrating gunshot wound. It enters, but it doesn’t leave. It leaves the thoracic cavity, but it doesn’t leave the body itself,” Pojman described as he pointed to a picture of Williams’ body.

The prosecution continued to try and show the jury Jackson did shoot and kill Williams. But the defense said the state cannot prove Jackson pulled the trigger.


The second day of trial took place on Tuesday, Mar. 2, 2021 for Tremaine Jackson. He is on trial for the murder of Troy Williams, which happened in May 2020 in the parking lot of Pet Supplies Plus in Beckley.

The day kicked off with opening statements. Raleigh County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Brian Parsons said video surveillance and key witnesses would prove Tremaine Jackson killed Troy Williams.

“On the morning of May 6, 2020, Troy Williams woke up and did not know this would be his last day on earth, but it would be. This is the story about his last day of his life,” Parsons said in court.

But Defense Attorney Kris Kostenko said the state did not have enough evidence to prove Jackson was guilty or even in Beckley at the time of the murder.

“Any evidence of Mr. Jackson in Beckley. None. You’re going to hear witness testimony in the parking lot is pretty much inconsistent with the statements that those young ladies came to the investigators with,” Kostenko said.

In Parson’s opening statement, he said Jackson was trying to sell rock salt to Williams as meth. This then led to a fight between Jackson and Williams, and eventually Jackson allegedly shot Williams.

After opening statements, the jury heard from multiple witnesses. The first few testimonies were from people who were at the scene of the crime and provided key details.

Jurors also heard the 911 calls from May 6, 2020, the day of the shooting. The people who made those phone calls said Williams struggled for air during his last moments.

Cpl. Timothy J. Hughes with the Beckley Police Department was one of the first people to respond. He described Williams’ condition when he arrived.

“He kept repeating that. I’m gonna die. I’m gonna die,'” said Hughes.

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