After first conviction thrown out, woman gets life instead of 35 years on Jacksonville felony murder charge

Shaketa Sharell Jones was convicted of the same crime, the same charges, the same everything. But the second time around, she was sentenced to life in prison on felony murder and armed robbery charges in Jacksonville, instead of the 35 years she received on her first conviction, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union.

Jones was convicted this month for the second time for her role in planning a Gate gas station robbery her boyfriend was carrying out when he was shot and killed by two Jacksonville police officers in 2010. She was initially convicted in 2011 and sentenced to 35 years in prison, but her convictions were reversed because of an error during the jury selection process. The state took Jones to trial again this month and she was convicted again of the same charges. Assuming she would have earned gain time and served the 85 percent of her sentence that most inmates in the Florida Department of Corrections system serve, Jones, 31, would have been released from prison at about age 60. Now, she’ll be in prison for the rest of her life with no chance of getting out. The only thing that changed in the case was the initially ruling was reversed on what appears to be a technicality. And Jones is the one being held accountable for it with a significantly tougher sentence than she received the first time around. But her fate was in the hands of a different judge, who saw the case differently and handed down a life sentence.

Jones was charged with murder under a Florida law that allows prosecutors to charge a person with murder is f they are committing a felony when another person is killed. Police said Jones was the mastermind behind a series of armed robberies and was serving as the lookout and talking to her boyfriend Jessie Cooper when he was robbing a gas station. Police had been following Jones and staking out the Gate station, so they approached Cooper immediately after he fled the store. Police said they told Cooper to show his hands and, when he didn’t, officers shot and killed him, the newspaper reported.

In many Jacksonville criminal court cases, a sentence that a person could have gotten in a negotiated plea is often lower than what he or she receives if convicted at trial. It tends to fly in the face of a person’s right to a trial in front of a jury of his or her peers, but that’s a reality of the system. Jones experienced a similar fate, only her sentence was hiked up after her appeal. There are inherent risks in any aspect of trying to dispose of a criminal case – whether it’s a negotiated sentence of pushing a case to trial. Our Jacksonville Criminal Attorney has represented thousands of defendants over the years and will investigate the case against you or your loved one, then lay out all of the options so you can make an informed decision.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Duval County Felony Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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