Germon Jefferson changes plea to ‘guilty’ as murder trial set to begin for death of Serena Williams
Jefferson was accused of shooting into an apartment unit Williams was in, with her sister, killing her
RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB) - It was a surprise move on Thursday morning in the Rapides Parish Courthouse, just as the trial for Germon Jefferson, 27, of Alexandria, was about to begin, he changed his plea to “guilty.”
Jefferson was charged with second-degree murder and two counts of illegal use of a weapon for the Nov. 16, 2021, deadly shooting of Serena Williams, 18, of Alexandria, at the Sanctuary at Alexandria Apartments.
Williams was killed when the Alexandria Police Department said Jefferson fired multiple shots into a unit she was in at the complex on Lakeside Drive. Her sister, whom Jefferson shared a baby with, was also inside the apartment and survived.
After the shooting, Jefferson drove to River Bend Drive and attempted to shoot the brother of the women. The brother wasn’t injured. Jefferson also led police on a chase but managed to get away. He was arrested two days later in Dallas.
As the jury was about to come in to begin with opening statements, Jefferson indicated that he intended to accept a plea offer that was offered by the Rapides Parish District Attorney’s Office. That offer allowed him to plead guilty to the lesser offense of attempted second-degree murder and guilty-as-charged to the illegal use of a weapon charges.
He was sentenced to 35 years in prison on the attempted second-degree murder charge and 20 years on each count of the illegal use of a weapon charges. The sentence will run consecutive, for a total of 75 years, and will be served without the benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.
“This just was the product of a lot of intense work between the defense and the victim, police officers were consulted, and it was just a good resolution to the case,” said Assistant District Attorney Lea Hall. “It’s always nice to have the certainty of a guilty plea as opposed to the uncertainty of a trial.”
Hall explained why Jefferson pleaded to the lesser charge of attempted second-degree murder.
“The attempted murder actually carries a stiffer penalty than manslaughter and the time that you have to serve on an attempted murder is without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence,” he said. “Manslaughter does not have that provision. That’s why we went that way.”
We also heard from Jefferson’s defense attorney.
“We felt like in light of the overwhelming evidence that the prosecution had and the jury that was selected, we felt like it would be in his best interest to go ahead and take a plea,” said Glenn Cortello. Cortello also said that this is effectively a life sentence for Jefferson: “Effectively it is. It’s a very strong sentence.”
No victim impact statements were read, and Jefferson didn’t make a comment.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Lea Hall and Kenneth Doggett, Jr. Jefferson was represented by Glenn Cortello and Harold Murry.
Judge Greg Beard presided.
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