‘I don’t want to accept my baby is gone,’ Family reacts to sentencing of 41-year-old man in teen girlfriend’s killing

Crime

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The 41-year-old man who gunned down his 19-year-old girlfriend at a Fort Wayne motel in 2020 was sentenced Friday.

Thomas J. Jackson

Thomas J. Jackson, of Fort Wayne, was sentenced to 85 years in prison for murder and using a firearm on Aug. 9, 2020 for the shooting death of Angel May Carter. The shooting happened outside of a second-floor room at the Rodeway Inn at 2920 Goshen Road.

Before Judge Fran Gull announced the sentencing, she said in her 30 years of serving in the Allen County Courthouse, she has never witnessed something so astonishing like the lack of remorse from Jackson.

“You aren’t sorry for the victim or the family. You are sorry for yourself,” Judge Gull said before sentencing.

There wasn’t a dry eye from supporters of Carter. Her mother, Dawn Hipshire, arrived at the courthouse an hour before sentencing, holding a photo album of her daughter, waiting alongside her mother, Carter’s grandmother.

When Jackson entered the courtroom, Hipshire didn’t hold back emotion. She cried as soon as she saw her daughter’s killer.

“She didn’t get to live her life. She was just a baby,” Hipshire said. “He didn’t care. Taking a life didn’t matter to him.”

During the sentencing, five of Carter’s loved ones spoke, asking the judge to give Jackson the maximum sentence. Hipshire, Carter’s dad, her older sisters, Ashley Korn and Ann Wicker, and her good friend, Crystal Proctor, all gave testimonies.

Hipshire told WANE 15’s Briana Brownlee that it’s not fair that her baby was ripped away from her. She doesn’t understand why her killer gets to live, whether it’s in prison or not.

“My daughter is six feet in the ground,” Hipshire said. “I still call her phone, I still message her on messenger, even today, I called her this morning. As long as I keep her Facebook going, as long as I keep her messenger going she is still alive. If they ever do close down her Facebook, then I’ll know she is gone forever. I don’t want to accept that my baby is gone.”

During testimony, Korn looked Jackson in his eyes and said, “She thought she could fix you. She loved everything, including you. She was getting her life together without you. That’s why you killed her.”

Afterward, Korn told WANE 15 “She was trying to make him a better man, even though we told her, ‘you can’t fix something that is already broken. He’s 40, Angel.”

Nearly a year after the death of Carter, the case is closed, the accused is now convicted but for Carter’s family, it’s bittersweet.

“He’s behind bars, but I don’t know, I feel numb like nothing is going to change. Nothing is going to bring her back,” said Wicker.

Last month, a jury found Jackson guilty after about an hour of deliberation, according to the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office.

Police were called to the motel just after 4 a.m. in August of 2020. Carter was found bleeding on the ground outside of a room. Medics pronounced her dead at the scene.

Afterward, police identified Jackson as a person of interest in the case. Carter’s family told WANE 15 she had been in a serious relationship with Jackson for nine months, but it turned abusive.

He was arrested less than three weeks later.

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