December 11, 2018

Jackson sentenced in 2015 Heard County shooting death

(Franklin, GA) — A man originally indicted on Malice Murder, Felony Murder, and Aggravated Assault is now serving his sentence in the Dooly State Prison in Unadilla, GA following a plea deal with the Heard County Court System on lesser charges.

Dimitri Merci Jackson, 31, was arrested on September 29, 2015 and charged with the murder of his friend and fellow electrical engineering student at the University of Alabama Huntsville, 38-year-old Antonio “Tony” Moore in Heard County.

Dimitri Merci Jackson (Photo: Georgia Department of Corrections)

Moore, a retired Navy veteran, was reported missing by his family to Huntsville, AL authorities on Saturday, September 12, 2015.

The victim’s family stated they had not seen Moore since September 1, 2015.

The GBI’s Columbus Regional Office was requested by the Heard County Sheriff’s Office to assist in the investigation of a partially decomposed body located in a wooded area near US Highway 27 and Edwards Road on Wednesday, September 23, 2015.

The body was found by hunters in the area who reported the discovery to the Heard County Sheriff’s Office.

The GBI Medical Examiner’s office used medical records to identify Moore’s body and results of an autopsy revealed he died from a gunshot wound and had been shot 11 times.

Dimitri Jackson had been renting an apartment in the city of Franklin for just a few weeks prior to being arrested at that location on Main Street.

Jackson had last been employed by Kia as part of a co-op work program before being terminated.

Jackson was found to be in possession of Moore’s driver’s license and birth certificate and he had allegedly stolen money from the Moore’s bank account.

As part of the deal reached in November, Jackson pleaded guilty to lesser charges of Voluntary Manslaughter, Armed Robbery, Kidnapping, Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony, and Theft-By-Taking.

Following his sentencing, Jackson will serve about the same if not more time in prison including a minimum of 25 years on the Armed Robbery (15 years) and Kidnapping (10 years) charges with no eligibility of parole. His max release date is September 26, 2045.

Jackson refused to make a statement meaning much is still unknown about the circumstances behind the shooting death but Heard County Assistant District Attorney says the case was strong and the victim’s family was agreeable with the decision.

“The DA’s office handled this case after multiple consultations with the victim’s family. Having to go through the process of a trial, the uncertainty of a conviction, and the appellate process would have taken a big toll on the family,” said Japour in a phone interview last week. “Even though the charge doesn’t say ‘murder’ the punishment is almost exactly the same. Everyone in the victim’s family was agreeable with this decision.”

Investigators found video evidence of Jackson and Moore together at the Lagrange Kroger on the day it is believed he was killed. Moore’s body was found wearing the same clothing that was observed in the store security footage. Jackson had no prior criminal record in Alabama.

The slaying left those who knew Moore stunned. Fellow UAH student Ross Sargent said the tragedy made no sense.

“Tony was a great guy,” Sargent told AL.com at the time of the death. “A noble veteran that wanted to better himself after serving his country. We had classes together, and he helped me out a lot.”

Sargent, a chemical engineer, said he previously shared physics and math classes with Moore and became friends with him outside of the university setting. “He will be missed,” Sargent said.

Moore was a Chicago native and a veteran of the U.S. Navy who lived at the Executive Lodge Apartments in Huntsville. His family, including an 18-year-old daughter, lives in the Atlanta area. Jackson also has family in the Atlanta area.

Japour was thankful for all of the help and support of several law enforcement agencies during the investigation.

“We want to thank the GBI, Sheriff Ross Henry and the Heard County Sheriff’s Office, West Georgia Regional Task Force, Chief Kevin Hannah and the Franklin Police Department, the Carrollton Police Department, and the Huntsville Police Department for all of the help in this case,”said Japour.

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