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MONROE, Ga. — "You've got such a malignant, twisted heart," Alcovy Judicial Circuit Chief Judge John Ott said Wednesday as he sentenced Jerome Mobley to life in prison.
A jury had just found Mobley guilty of murdering his ex-wife, Katie. The jury deliberated only 18 minutes before delivering the verdict.
Ott then sentenced Mobley to life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus 75 years.
The ruling was the conclusion of a two-and-a-half-day trial. The state, led by District Attorney Layla Zon and Assistant District Attorney Dave Williamson, presented reams of threatening text messages between Katie and Jerome; recorded interviews with the Mobley children, who witnessed the crime; and crime scene analysis from various experts.
The evidence showed Mobley drove to Katie's house at 676 Knox Chapel Road in Social Circle on the morning of April 18.
A 911 call came from Gentrie Mobley, Katie's 9-year-old daughter, at 6:46 a.m.
"My daddy just broke in and shot my mommy," she said.
Responding officers found Gannon Mobley, Katie's 8-year-old son, attempting to perform CPR on his mother, who was determined to be dead on the scene.
According to crime scene reconstruction by Investigator Mike Sellers of the Walton County Sheriff's Office, Mobley had fired two shots that morning with a 12-gauge shotgun.
The first one missed. The second, taken from less than an inch away, did not.
Before her death, Katie managed to squeeze off five rounds with a pistol, one of which struck Mobley in the leg.
Mobley fled the scene, to be found two days later by a father and son in a backyard on Hestertown Road.
When he realized he would be captured, Mobley attempted to shoot himself with the shotgun he was still carrying. However, he succeeded only in blowing off the front of his face.
The defense, headed by Public Defender Anthony Carter, presented only one witness: Mobley himself.
He claimed he and Katie got into an argument at the house, after which she shot him in the leg. He said he then went to his truck and could not remember what happened after that.
"I only figured out Katie was dead four weeks later," he said.
During her cross-examination, Zon was not impressed.
"An innocent person doesn't hide themselves in the woods for two days. … You're a coward and a liar," she said.
The jury, apparently, was not impressed either.
Before sentencing, Katie's father Joey stood up and addressed Ott, begging him to impose the maximum sentence. Then he turned to face Mobley.
"I hope you look in the mirror every day and you remember what you did to her and those babies and you live with it," he said.