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2/6/2013 11:46:00 AM
Prescott Valley man gets 20 years for murder of his friend

Scott Orr
Special to the Tribune

PRESCOTT- Tharpsky Oyal Brown was sentenced on Tuesday to 20 years for his part in the beating death of a man he called a friend.

Police arrested Brown, 27, and Richard Dean Widman, 54, both of Prescott Valley, in March 2011 at their home in the 8400 block of Manley Drive, Prescott Valley Police spokesman Brandon Bonney said.

Police investigators said the victim, John Eugene Jackson, 37, of Prescott Valley, got into an argument with Brown and Widman that turned into a violent fight in a parking lot in the 8200 block of Jacque Drive.

The two men beat and stabbed Jackson, Bonney said. An autopsy showed that Jackson suffered multiple blunt-force injuries and multiple stab wounds to his head and neck.

Widman was found to be incompetent to assist in his own defense and has been undergoing treatment in an effort to restore him to competency.

Both men were charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy. Widman is also charged with failure to register as a sex offender.

Brown accepted a plea deal that allowed him to avoid a trial, where he could have been sentenced to life in prison if he was found guilty, and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and a weapons misconduct charge.

On Tuesday, he appeared before Superior Court Judge Tina Ainley. His mother, her common-law husband, and sister all journeyed from South Central Los Angeles to speak to Ainley in person about Brown.

His mother, Stephanie Littles, said he was "a good boy" who overcame some learning disabilities to graduate from high school. She added that he's been a good father to his three children.

"He's the type of person who would give you the shirt off his back," she said. Several times she expressed disbelief that he killed Jackson, saying, "He never did anything out of the ordinary."

Matthew Aubrey, her husband, said he had taught Brown carpentry and that he was good at it, but when the market slowed, he left Los Angeles and moved to Arizona.

"Young people have a tendency to get involved in things they don't need to be involved in," Aubrey said.

Deputy County Attorney Dana Owens said, "No one is here to speak for Mr. Jackson," and she described his background. "He was a veteran, and he suffered from depression."

She added that "the victim's mother believes the state should not have offered (Brown) a plea agreement at all."

Brown told Ainley, "I wish John Jackson's mother could have been here so I could apologize to her. I loved him very much. I am deeply sorry."

"It's clear that something went wrong that night," Ainley said. "A friend ended up murdered."

She said her took into account "the pain he would have suffered prior to his death," which a police detective characterized as "slow and painful."

Ainley sentenced Brown to 20 years flat time in prison, meaning he is not eligible for any early release, on the murder charge, with credit for 689 days already served, and five years to be served concurrently on the weapons charge.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013
Article comment by: Total Joke

he kills a man, takes a plea deal because he KNOWS he will spend the rest of his life in prison and they only give him 20 yrs! Not to mention the gun charge is served concurrently and he gets time served?! What a travesty of justice!

Posted: Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Article comment by: no one

wow for murder you get 20 years. This guy will be 10 years older then the man he killed. I don't get the system.

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