Jerry Wayne Lovings, 57, was found guilty Friday on all counts in the murder of 22-year-old Jonathan Brooks after a dispute over money.
The week-long trial wrapped up when Cobb Superior Court Judge Gregory Poole, sitting on his first murder trial, sentenced Lovings to life in prison without possibility of parole, plus an additional 20 years to be served consecutively.
“I thought the trial went pretty much as expected,” said Jesse Evans, the deputy chief assistant district attorney who prosecuted the case for the state. “Judge Poole’s sentence was fair given the evidence presented.”
After two days of learning how Lovings shot Brooks with a revolver and then chased him down to finish the job, the 14-person jury took less than an hour to reach a verdict of guilty on all five charges.
“We’re very pleased with how the jury deliberated,” Evans said. “This was a great group of jurors, a very attentive group.”
The jury followed the August 2011 indictment against Lovings precisely, finding him guilty of malice murder, two counts of felony murder, aggravated assault and aggravated battery.
They chose not to accept the option of a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter that defense attorney Jill Stahlman, representing Lovings, told them they could consider.
The case started May 18, 2011, when an argument over money at a computer repair shop on Veterans Memorial Highway escalated to murder.
The two men were having a disagreement over a promise to have someone do tax returns for Lovings, who was homeless and unemployed at the time.
Then Lovings pulled a .22-caliber revolver from his backpack and shot Brooks.
When the victim attem-pted to escape through the back of a neighboring hair-braiding store, he ended up trapped in the bathroom, and Lovings chased him down and fired multiple times. Then as Brooks lay dying in the parking lot, Lovings called 911 and waited for the police to arrive.
After the killing, according to testimony, Lovings expressed no remorse for the crime and even told two police officers that he was glad Brooks was dead.
The five-day trial started early Monday when Lovings tried to fire Stahlman as his defense attorney, but he later reconsidered.
When testimony began on Wednesday, the state presented evidence and multiple witnesses showing the jury a bloody crime perpetrated by a remorseless killer.
Meanwhile, the defense presented one piece of evidence and called one witness, giving the jury only her opening and closing arguments to imply that Lovings was a poor, homeless victim of scams who killed Brooks only after he was pushed to his breaking point.