Victim's Sister Hopes Killer Never Finds Peace
By Trish Mehaffey, The Gazette
TAMA, Iowa Marlene O'Clair said that no words would ever bring her daughter Kerry O'Clair Jefferson back to life, but she asked the woman convicted of killing her if it was worth destroying two families.
"This senseless tragedy was brought on by anger and alcohol," O'Clair said Monday during a victim’s impact statement. "Was it worth it for two families to fall apart? Not a day goes by that I don't think of her ... There is only a future that will never be for Kerry."
Ginger Jefferson, 57, convicted by a Tama County jury May 27, was sentenced Monday to life in prison for killing Kerry O'Clair Jefferson, 32, who was stabbed twice in the neck following a family argument Sept. 25, 2013. According to testimony, Jefferson was upset with her daughter-in-law O'Clair Jefferson because she turned in her husband and Ginger's son, Dustin Jefferson, into police. He was wanted for sexual abuse in another case.
Witnesses during the trial testified Ginger Jefferson confessed to at least two people about the killing and one of them said she saw Jefferson with blood on her hands and helped her wash it off in her kitchen sink. There also was testimony regarding evidence found at the scene, including blood, that led back to Jefferson.
Marlene O'Clair said she didn't feel sadness for Jefferson because her family still can visit her, and Kerry's family can only visit a gravesite.
O'Clair Jefferson's sister, Nicole Hitchcock, said in her victim's impact statement that Jefferson took "something from me that meant everything."
"She is dead because of your horrible actions," Hitchcock said. "I feel contempt and hatred for you."
Hitchcock said her two 6-year-olds miss their only "Auntie" and don't understand why anyone would hurt her. Now, instead of sharing happy times with their aunt, they have random episodes of crying and going through therapy appointments.
"When you pass on ... I hope your journey is hell," Hitchcock said looking at Jefferson. "I pray you will never be at peace."
Ginger Jefferson declined to speak before the judge sentenced her. She didn't react during the impact statements. She only smiled and waved to her family members after the hearing.
Sixth Judicial District Judge Stephen Jackson denied Jefferson's motion for a new trial and ordered Jefferson to pay $150,000 to O'Clair-Jefferson's estate and $7,500 to the crime victim's assistance program.
Jackson also ordered a no-contact order for the families of Marlene O'Clair and Nicole Hitchcock for a term of five years, as requested by the state and in accordance with state law.
Dustin Jefferson, 38, also was charged with first-degree murder in his wife's death. He was arrested and charged shortly before his mother was convicted in May. Dustin Jefferson didn't testify during his mother's trial, invoking his Fifth Amendment rights.
During a pretrial hearing Monday before his mother's sentencing, attorneys met and continued the case. His trial was set July 28, but a new trial date will be set.
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