LIMA — A jury of eight women and four men deliberated for five hours Wednesday before returning a guilty verdict against Cory L. Jackson, the 20-year-old Lima man charged with murder in the death of Lima resident Amari Gooding.
Jackson was accused of shooting the 20-year-old Gooding to death in the parking lot outside the Main Street Irish Pub in downtown Lima in the early-morning hours of Oct. 8, 2016. He was indicted in June 2017 by a grand jury on charges of murder with firearm specifications, an unclassified felony, and aggravated robbery with firearm specifications, a felony of the first degree.
Jurors on Wednesday found him guilty on both counts. Jackson, who showed no emotion when the verdicts were announced, faces a prison term of 18 years to life when he is sentenced at a later date.
The state built its case primarily around the testimony of Trey Ackles, who told jurors Tuesday during the trial’s opening day that Jackson robbed him at gunpoint in the parking lot of the bar on the night in question. When Gooding came to his aid, Ackles testified, Jackson pointed a gun at Gooding’s chest and pulled the trigger.
Testimony offered Wednesday morning, however, offered contrasting accounts of the events that took place at the pub that evening.
Marvin Bridges, who described himself as a friend of Cory Jackson “since fifth grade,” said he arrived at the pub with Jackson on the night of the incident. He recalled that some 15 minutes later Ackles and Jackson went outside to talk. Bridges said he went outside later smoked a joint with Jackson, at which time he “heard a confrontation” coming from a group of eight or nine people in the parking lot.
Bridges said Ackles, Gooding, Blake Patterson and others were in a group when Ackles pointed his finger at Jackson in an threatening manner.
“Trey walked toward Cory and Cory dropped him,” Bridges testified, clarifying that Jackson struck Ackles with his fist. Ackles had testified earlier that Jackson struck him with a gun, knocking out one of Ackles’ teeth.
“Did Cory have a gun that night?” asked Defense Attorney Bill Kluge. Bridges said Jackson was not armed that that he (Bridges) did not see anyone else with a gun that evening.
Shortly after Jackson struck Ackles, Bridges testified, he “heard a pop,” which he said was a gunshot.
Reach J Swygart at 567-242-0464.