Eddie Ray Jackson sentenced for 2017 murder in convenience store parking lot

Three siblings of James Melton give victim impact statements in court
Published: May. 3, 2021 at 1:01 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - A Rapides Parish judge has sentenced Eddie Ray Jackson, Jr., 21 of Alexandria, for the Feb. 2017 shooting death of James Melton, 36 of Woodworth, outside of an Alexandria convenience store. Jackson was convicted by a jury of second degree murder and attempted armed robbery with a firearm on April 17.

Melton was waiting inside of his truck in the parking lot of the Save More store on Lee Street, when surveillance video from the store showed someone in a hoodie approach the truck and shoot him in the head. Witness testimony identified Jackson as the shooter.

On Monday, Judge Greg Beard sentenced Jackson to life in prison without the benefit of probation or suspension of sentence for the second degree murder conviction. He will be parole eligible under a law designed to prevent juvenile-lifers, because he was 17-years-old when the crime was committed.

Jackson was also sentenced to 45 years in prison without the benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence for the attempted armed robbery conviction. That sentence will run concurrent with the life sentence. An additional five years was added consecutively because a gun was involved.

Three of Melton’s siblings gave victim impact statements in court. His sister, Cyndi Walker, tearfully spoke of her “baby brother” and all the things she wanted to tell Jackson about him.

“I thought about telling you about how good and devoted a father he was,” she said.

Later, Walker told Jackson about the moment when the family surrounded his hospital bed and knew he wouldn’t survive the shooting, and the moment she had to tell her brother’s 8-year-old son, James, Jr., that his father wouldn’t be coming home.

“I’ve come to realize over the last four years, none of those things matter to you,” she said. “None of those things have an impact. [...] It doesn’t seem to me that you have a family like that.”

She said the sentence won’t provide the relief she hoped for, because her brother is still dead.

“James, Jr. is still without his father,” she told Jackson. “My mom and dad still have a grave site to visit. In one single, dumb moment you broke our family, and you broke your family too.”

She ended with a plea to Jackson to be a better example for his younger brother “than what will land him in a cell next to yours.” Jackson cried as she told him this.

Melton’s brother, Alun, pointed out that moment.

“I’ve seen zero remorse,” he said. “Not until my sister poured her heart out in this chair, have I seen remorse.”

Melton’s sister, Sarah, only addressed the court.

“The reason I have nothing to say to the man who murdered my brother is he had four years to show remorse,” she said. Instead, she told Judge Beard about her brother’s dying moments, how they brought his son to say goodbye, and how her parents waited in the hospital as they removed his organs for donation.

Jackson offered no statement when he had the chance to address the family and the court.

The case was prosecuted by Christopher Bowman and Johnny Giordano. Jackson was represented by Chad Guillot.

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