Drewryville woman found guilty in 2007 murder

Published 8:23 pm Thursday, August 18, 2011

COURTLAND–Tirail Jackson’s father, Kelvin, was thinking about his son when a Southampton County jury announced Tiona Tucker guilty of his murder.

“I was thinking about justice for him,” Jackson said. “To hear that verdict was like tears of joy.”

Tucker, 30, of Drewryville was found guilty of first-degree murder and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony. The jury recommended 30 years in prison. Judge Robert O’Hara scheduled sentencing for Nov. 10.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said the victim’s father. “I feel like justice was served as much as it can be served in this system.”

The verdict comes two days into the trial stemming from the shooting of Jackson at a mobile home in Drewryville late on Feb. 14 or early Feb. 15, 2007.

The prosecution claimed during opening statements that Jackson was shot with two different weapons after a robbery went bad.

Tucker’s aunt, Alice Johnson, said she still believes her niece is innocent.

“In my heart of hearts I don’t believe she did it,” Johnson said. “With drug activity in the house, and people coming in and out, how can you pinpoint it on one person? In a situation like this, nobody wins.”

Tucker’s first trial in February resulted in a mistrial when the jury was unable to reach a verdict.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Cooke was “gratified” by the verdict and said it sent a “strong message to the people in our community.”

Defense attorney Barrett Richardson declined to comment.

Brian Scott, a second person accused in the shooting death of Jackson, has a trial date set for Nov. 1.