Jury Recommends Life in Murder Trial

Article excerpt

A Jacksonville jury recommended on Wednesday that Isaac Matthew Wilder, 31, receive a mandatory life prison term for the 2005 murder of LaSerrio Nashief Lang, 22, on the Southside.

Prosecutors had sought the death penalty for Wilder, a career felon, but defense attorney Charles Fletcher asked jurors to consider the Wilder grew up in foster homes and didn't have any serious crimes in his record. Jurors had previously convicted Wilder of first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder and petty theft.

Wilder and his co-defendant, Bobby Clinton Johnson, 27, were in the back seat of a car parked at an apartment complex near Atlantic and University Boulevard North. Prosecutors said Wilder, who continued to maintain his innocence Wednesday, shot Lang in the back of the head then shot Lang's passenger, Keonna Diamond, 24, also in the head.

Diamond played dead until Wilder and Johnson left, then climbed on top of her dying friend and drove to a nearby McDonald's to call 911. There were drugs in the car.

Lang's family said they weren't upset by the jury's recommendation.

"My only concern was that he never walk the streets again because he's a menace to society," said Paulette Hardy, Lang's mother. "He should never have been out of prison when this happened."

Paul Pinkham

POLICE OFFICERS BREAK UP ARMED ROBBERY ATTEMPT

Two Jacksonville police officers investigating a burglary call in Arlington Wednesday foiled an armed robbery and got into a gunbattle in the middle of an apartment complex parking lot.

Sgt. Rob Beers said the officers, who weren't in uniform, were at City Ridge Apartments in the 7500 block of Arlington Expressway when they encountered a struggle between a young man and two women about 1:15 p.m. The women, 25- and 26-year-old sisters, were in a parked car with two 3-year-old children when they were accosted by an armed man, according to the police report. …