DULUTH – A 27-year-old man was sentenced Tuesday to more than 30 years in prison for fatally shooting a stranger outside a bar downtown in 2018.
A jury convicted Jamal Jackson of second-degree murder last month, dismissing claims that he acted in self-defense when he shot Scott Pennington, 31.
“I have to imagine that you wake up every day and you hope that those seconds that ended Scott Pennington’s life didn’t happen,” said St. Louis County District Judge Theresa Neo, who sentenced Jackson to 367 months in prison in accordance with the prosecutors’ request.
According to court documents, Jackson shot Pennington in the face on the sidewalk about 1 a.m. on Sept. 1, 2018, across the street from a bar both had visited on W. 1st Street. Several witnesses during the trial said they did not see or hear any fighting before the shooting. Jackson testified that Pennington had reached toward his hip and told him to move away “or I’ll kill you.”
Prosecutors read statements from Pennington’s family members Monday that described him as a caring, fun-loving son, brother and nephew who would often offer to mow his parents’ lawn and enjoyed camping, fishing and golf.
Assistant St. Louis County attorney Jon Holets asked for what he said was the “top-of-the-box sentence,” arguing that “this crime, more than most, has impact that never goes away.”
Jackson’s public defender said Tuesday that Jackson felt uncomfortable speaking in the hearing but “he is sorry that there is a loss of life. And he certainly did not want that night to end that way.”
As he was led out of the courtroom, Jackson looked over at members of his family, some of whom had tears in their eyes as they sat quietly in the last two rows of benches.