LIMA — Thirty years to life.
An audible gasp could be heard from the family of Cory Jackson in Allen County Common Pleas Court Wednesday when Judge David Cheney handed down that sentence to the 21-year-old for the murder of Amari Gooding.
Jackson — once called one of Lima’s most wanted men — was convicted in early March by a jury of eight women and four men on charges of murder in the death of Gooding, a Lima resident, and for aggravated robbery. He 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.
A grand jury indicted Jackson on charges of murder, an unspecified felony, and a first-degree felony count of aggravated burglary. Both counts carried three-year specifications for the use of a firearm during the commission of the crimes.
Assistant Allen County Prosecuting Attorney Terri Kohlrieser called Gooding’s death “completely senseless.”
“There was no reason for the defendant to do what he did … except that he wanted to,” Kohlrieser told Cheney prior to sentencing. “We ask the court to impose sentence accordingly.”
Defense Attorney William Kluge said of the local culture of drugs and guns to which so many have seemingly fallen victim, “I don’t know what the answer is. Cory Jackson had a promising life, and now he’s looking at life in prison. He has shown great remorse for the events that occurred.”
Kluge asked Cheney to run the aggravated burglary count consecutively to the murder sentence. When Cheney failed to do that, Jackson’s family members were incensed.
Cheney called the case “extremely sad … especially for the Gooding family.” He sentenced Jackson to 15 years to life on the murder charge and nine years on the robbery charge. Each of the firearm specifications carried a mandatory three-year prison term.
The state built its case primarily around the testimony of Trey Ackles, who testified at trial 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.
Detective Todd Jennings of the Lima Police Department testified at trial that Jackson became a suspect in the shooting when “his name was given to me” as he attempted to interview Ackles at the hospital on the night Gooding died. Jennings said police were unable to locate Jackson until he was arrested in Detroit in April 2017, even though he had given police a false name at the time of his arrest.