FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A man found guilty in connection to a February 2020 double homicide on Fort Wayne’s northeast side has been sentenced.
Judge Fran Gull on Friday handed Jamesley Paul 146 years in prison for the killings of Mon Ong, 21, and 23-year-old Brooke J. Wendel in a Barnhart Avenue home.
Paul was found guilty on one count of murder, two counts of felony murder and attempted robbery last month.
Paul was one of three men arrested for the killings. Both victims were found shot inside a home at the 2400 block of Barnhart Avenue. Ong was pronounced dead at the scene while Wendel was taken to a hospital. A third person was shot and critically hurt.
Loved ones of Wendel told the courtroom that it’s been 513 days of hurting. They said they’ve cried for justice ever since her murder and they won’t stop until all three suspects are sentenced for her death.
During a balloon ceremony in honor of Wendel, Amy Gilliam, Wendel’s mother, told WANE 15’s Briana Brownlee that she never thought she could have children. After Wendel was born, Gilliam had five stillbirths.
“She was my miracle baby,” Gilliam said. “I just want him (Paul) to be in misery and pain for the rest of his life and my baby’s blue eyes just torturing him. That’s what I want.”
August 15, 1996, was the best day of Gilliam’s life when her “baby girl” was born, but her happiness was cut short 23-years later after Wendel was shot and killed while sleeping. “The hugs” is what Gilliam misses the most.
“She was just so much fun, the life of the party and it didn’t matter what color you were, your pay scale, she was your friend,” said Gilliam. “She was just that nice. She was kind.”
The courtroom was filled with supporters for the victims and a few for Paul. Wendel supporters were spotted wearing Wendel’s favorite color pink, with the hashtag “#JusticeforBrooke” and holding pictures of her.
Wendel’s mother, father, and childhood friend pleaded for the judge to give Paul the maximum sentence during their testimonies. Ong’s older sister fought through tears telling the court that the murder of her brother changed her life, her family, and plans for her wedding that’s in 2022.
“Over $1,500 is what you gave up your freedom for,” Ong’s older sister cried while addressing the court.
In a tearful testimony during sentencing, Gilliam looked directly at Paul and called him a “coward, killer, and animal”.
Paul, who is is originally from Haiti, had an interpreter in court. When the judge asked him if he was pleased with his representation he responded “I can’t say I’m fully satisfied.” He added that he will appeal.
His aunt spoke on his behalf and asked for the judge to reconsider since he is so young.
“He will learn from every mistake made if given the chance to find his path,” said his aunt during her testimony.
She also shared a story of how he had a hard upbringing in Haiti and he lived a “law-abiding life,” with no criminal activity. She added that he has a history of overcoming adversity through education.
After the sentencing, his family members told WANE 15 that they do not know what to say about the long sentence, calling it “ridiculous”.
“I just don’t understand, his prints weren’t on the murder weapon. It was an all-white jury. It just doesn’t seem fair,” said one family member who did not want to give his name.
Nicholas Adams, Paul’s attorney, said it was a tough trial and sentencing. He added that Paul will appeal and will maintain his innocence. When asked his thoughts about Paul “not being fully satisfied” with his representation, Adam paused and said it is best he doesn’t comment.
The surviving member from the shooting was in court and at the balloon release for Wendel.
Kyaw H. Hlang and Kerwins Louis were also arrested in connection to the killings. Hlang pleaded guilty to two counts of Felony Murder and one count of Robbery in September 2020. Louis is scheduled to go on trial this September.