A Goldsboro man was sentenced to life in prison after a Wayne County jury handed down a guilty verdict in the murder trial of a 20-year-old who was shot to death in 2011.
Timothy Jerome Midgette, 25, is sentenced to life in prison, without parole, after the jury found him guilty Wednesday in the murder of Laquan Devon Pearsall.
Pearsall was shot and killed in the back parking lot of the Jefferson Court Apartments on Sept. 17, 2011. Court documents show that robbery was the motive in the deadly shooting.
The weeklong trial, which began March 20, included testimony from Antonio Jamar Seaberry, who previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and armed robbery in the case. Seaberry, who was called as a witness by the prosecution, testified that it was Midgette who pulled the trigger and killed Pearsall.
Seaberry has admitted to his role in the robbery but has always maintained that Midgette did the shooting.
Jurors deliberated in Wayne County Superior Court for 10 hours on Tuesday and Wednesday before returning a guilty verdict of first-degree murder Wednesday, just before noon.
After the verdict was announced, Superior Court Judge Phyllis Gorham handed down a sentence of life in prison under the first-degree murder rule, which results in serving life without parole. Midgette was also charged with discharging a firearm into occupied property.
During the trial, Midgette showed no emotion as evidence was presented against him.
He emerged as the murder suspect when he was called to testify during Seaberry's trial in 2013.
Under cross examination, Midgette placed himself in the victim's car, he admitted to having the cellphone from which Seaberry received several texts discussing the robbery and to having been with the ex-girlfriend, who testified that Midgette told her he killed Pearsall.
The victim's mother, Tamico Richardson, said she was satisfied with the verdict, after spending a week listening to evidence that chronicled the final hours of her son's life. At different moments during the trial, she dropped her head and cried, as evidence was presented leading up to the deadly shooting.
Richardson sat in the front row of the courtroom, surrounded by other family members.
"I'm pleased with the verdict," Richardson said. "The decision today is bitter-sweet. Now, the healing process can begin."
Richardson said her son was a good person, who was respectable and hard-working. The weeklong trial also led to sleepless nights, she said.
Midgette will serve out his sentence at Craven Correctional Institution.
Defense attorney Walter Webster said that he was surprised that the jury found Midgette guilty of first-degree murder. Webster has filed an appeal in the case.