It was a horrible Mother's Day last year for Theresa Williams. She learned her only son, 23-year-old Javon Jackson, had been shot and killed not far from campus. She's obviously still grieving but Williams stood strong in court on Tuesday as she came face to face with her son's killer.
"You murdered my only son and eldest child, the co-protector of my 10-year-old daughter, and my rock," said Williams to 21-year-old Damario Cordelius in front of Erie County Court Judge Michael D'Amico. She recalled her joy last spring as her son received his electrical engineering degree from the University at Buffalo.
"You (Cordelius) sent my child from the college to the coffin," said Williams, "You caused an entire college community to trade in the joys of graduation for the sorrows of expiration."
Jackson was gunned down near Main Street and Lisbon Avenue in Buffalo in the early morning of Mother's Day just hours after graduation. Police say surveillance cameras helped lead them to Cordelius who apparently did not know the man he fatally shot. "If you had any idea what a beautiful life you have taken from his parents, his sister, his family, his friends, his community where he was most certain to be a credit, I can not imagine that you would sleep at night," said Williams to Cordelius.
Cordelius' attorney says his client wrote to the judge taking responsibility for killing Jackson. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but Cordelius passed on the chance to apologize in court on Tuesday.
"Mr. Cordelius, anything you'd like to say on your behalf?" asked Judge D'Amico.
"No," replied Cordelius.
The judge then sentenced the young man from Amherst to 25 years in prison. A second defendant in this case, Christian Klenke of Buffalo, was also in court on Wednesday. He's expected to be sentenced at a later date on a weapons charge.