JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A jury did not unanimously agree Friday to recommend the death penalty for Eric Lamar Jackson, who was convicted of murdering his girlfriend in 2018 in Jacksonville.
Florida law stipulates that for Jackson to receive the death penalty for shooting and killing Nekecheana Phillips in front of her young children, all 12 jurors must recommend it.
Because the jurors could not come to a unanimous decision, Jackson was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
At trial last month, court records show Jackson’s attorneys tried to say he was insane when he shot and killed Phillips, but the jury rejected that argument. During the penalty phase this week, expert witnesses were brought in to testify that Jackson was under extreme mental or emotional distress at the time of the shooting.
Phillips had petitioned the court for a restraining order against Jackson the day before she was killed, according to News4JAX archives.
“She did the right thing. She got a restraining order,” Phillips’ aunt Barbara Young said. “She did everything and changed the locks. I’m just devastated. I’m just so sad.”
After the shooting, family members at the scene confirmed to News4JAX that Jackson was abusive to Phillips. She was inside her car with her children when he fired into it, hitting her multiple times, police said.
Family members called her “Nene” and said she was well-liked by everyone.
“I just thank God I got to know my niece and her smile,” Young said. “Y’all pray for our family.”
News4JAX also learned Phillips’ father was a JSO officer when this happened.