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‘Three monsters against one Black man:’ Sentencing underway for men involved in Gary Jackson’s death

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The sentencing hearing for a man who pleaded guilty in the May 2023 murder of 39-year-old Gary Jackson got underway Tuesday afternoon.

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Jackson’s body was found behind a dumpster downtown.

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Two others who pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact for their role in the murder are also set to be sentenced.

The words of a family left devastated after a night of drug use and partying turned deadly, ending with the murder of their loved one were shared in the courtroom Tuesday.

“Ryan, Daniel and Holden damned me the second I woke up thanking God for letting me see another day and praying for my family and friends,” said Leanne Butler, Jackson’s aunt while giving her victim impact statement.

ORIGINAL STORY: Man found dead of gunshot wound in Downtown Jacksonville, police say

During the sentencing hearing, Holden Dodson testified he, Ryan Nichols, and Daniel Deguardia were drinking and doing cocaine before deciding to go downtown the night of Jackson’s murder.

Dodson testified he and Nichols were both armed.

At some point, Nichols took off chasing Jackson.

After a brief pursuit, the men returned to the car where Dodson and Deguardia claim Nichols accused Jackson of stealing his gun.

Deguardia testified Nichols directed him where to drive.

Upon finding Jackson, Deguardia claimed Nichols took Dodson’s gun and exited the vehicle.

“He [Nichols] did say something along the lines of I know where you’re hiding. You’re about to get shot,” said Deguardia.

Dodson and Deguardia both claim Nichols proceeded to shoot Jackson several times behind a dumpster on Ashley street, right near the courthouse.

When Nichols returned to the car, the three men drove away.

“He [Nichols] said, ‘I just blew that n-word’s head off’, was one the things that was said. And, ‘nobody steals from me’. Almost bragging,” said Dodson.

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Nichols has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and Dodson and Deguardia have both pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact for their roles.

Family members asked the judge to impose the maximum sentence.

“Three monsters against one Black man. They chased my uncle down,” said Jackson’s niece, Annequineice Johnson.

Nichols faces a maximum of 40 years in prison as a result of his plea agreement.

Deguardia and Dodson both face maximum sentences of 15 years.

As of 5:30 PM the hearing was still going.

At least Deguardia and Dodson are expected to be sentenced during a follow-up hearing.

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