YOUNGSTOWN - Shirlene Hill says the death of her son is a living nightmare she can not awake from.
Hill was speaking Thursday as three men were sentenced for their role in the death of her son, 25-year-old Jamail Johnson, at an off-campus fraternity party on Feb. 6, 2011.
Eleven other people were wounded in the North Side shooting.
Hill told Mahoning County Common Pleas Court Judge John Durkin that her son was her rock, and every day she wakes up she still can not believe he's gone.
''I wish all of this was just a bad dream,'' Hill said. ''Reality is for the rest of my life, I will wake up without my son.''
Sentenced by Durkin were 22-year-old Mark Jones for involuntary manslaughter, for which he received 10 years but can apply for judicial release after five years; 20-year-old Jamelle Jackson, for murder, 10 counts of felonious assault and improperly discharging a firearm into a habitation, who received 90 years to life; and Demetrius Wright, 22, who was given probation after a plea to charges of tampering with evidence and carrying a concealed weapon.
Sidney Hill, 16, right, comforts his stepmother, Shirlene Hill, Thursday. Shirlene Hill is the mother of murder victim Jamail Johnson. Three men who took part in Johnson’s death were sentenced Thursday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. At left is Shirlene Hill’s husband, Sidney Hill. Photo by R. Michael Semple
Mark Jones' brother, Columbus Jones, was sentenced in August to more than 90 years in prison after being convicted of the same charges as Jackson. Columbus Jones and Jackson fired guns while Mark Jones gave his brother a gun, prosecutors say.
Johnson was working the door at the fraternity house on Indiana Avenue on the North Side when he was killed. Witnesses said he was ushering party-goers to safety when he was hit. Prosecutors say the shooting started after a fight broke out when one of Columbus Jones' friends was accosted after bumping into a woman on the dance floor.
His mother said she called her son ''J Rock'' and that he always doted on her.
''I miss his kiss on my cheek,'' Hill said. ''He never left my presence without kissing me goodbye.''
Lynn Johnson, aunt of Jamail Johnson, told all three men that they were raised without a sense of shame and that their actions of shooting guns show they have an emptiness in their lives. She said to Jones' father, who carried a large, worn Bible through much of the proceedings, ''You carry that big Bible with you and you didn't teach him anything?''
He tried to talk back but was escorted out of the courtroom by deputies.
She read aloud a note on the back of a graduation picture that her nephew had sent her.
''You are my role model and you my second mother,'' the note read. ''I love you like a fat kid loves candy and I'm going to make you proud of me.''
Another one of the victims, Shavai Owens, also briefly addressed the court.
Wright said nothing when he was sentenced by Durkin. Jones apologized to Johnson's family and Jackson said he was innocent.
''I never once fired a gun into that house. Not one time,'' Jackson said.