65ºF

Man Gets Life For Killing Blind Woman

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 24-year-old Jacksonville man was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison for raping and killing a young blind woman.

Jermaine Wilson learned his punishment in court Thursday afternoon. He had pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in July in the killing of 21-year-old Dominique Harden.

Wilson told police he murdered the woman for one reason -- she refused his advances.

Police found Harden dead in her Southside apartment in June 2007. Harden had begun going blind when she was 18, and she had moved to Jacksonville to be closer to blind services.

In court on Thursday, the victim's mother, Leslie Harden, took the stand during Wilson's sentencing hearing. She struggled to hold back her tears as she showed the court pictures of her daughter.

Harden listened to the details of how her blind daughter was raped and strangled by Wilson.

"My granddaughter has dreams and runs to me, 'Grandma, I dreamed my mom was still alive. Do you dream the same thing?' I dream it everyday -- everyday. It's the worst nightmare a mother should ever have to go through," Harden said.

She said her daughter had a rough life but was surviving.

In court, before the judge handed down his sentence, Wilson spoke to the Harden family.

"I just want to say sorry to daughter and the victim's family ? and I think I deserve everything that you're giving me," Wilson said.

With that, the judge sentenced Wilson to life in prison with no chance for parole.

The victim's family said it was grateful, but knows it will have a hard time ahead and that Dominique Harden would always be in their hearts.

"You feel like your whole life is shattered and that it's not true. You feel like how can you go on. You're heart is broken in a million pieces and you constantly cry. How do you go on?" Leslie Harden said.