An Atlanta man facing trial for killing a Conyers man in a “crime of passion” entered a guilty plea in Rockdale County Superior Court Friday morning and was sentenced to 25 years.
Jokari Jontue Carter was scheduled to go to trial Monday and was originally charged with malice murder of Stewart Elvin Tabb, Jr., 30, for shooting him outside the Brandon Glen Apartments on Oct. 7, 2009 in what appeared to be a love triangle gone awry.
Carter agreed to a negotiated plea for a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter, along with merged charges of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, said Assistant District Attorney Dabney Kentner. Carter was sentenced by Judge Sidney Nation to 25 years, to serve 15.
“I think the most important thing is that the victim’s wife was in agreement with this resolution,” Kentner said.
Tabb’s wife, Joetta, said she was very much relieved the case was over.
“My family had gone through a lot. We were ready to close that chapter in our lives,” she said.
Joetta had a chance to give a statement in the courtroom and address Carter.
“He was respectful enough to look me in the eye as I was speaking to him. I could see a sense of remorse,” she said.
“I said our family has experienced a great loss. He doesn’t realize by his actions, his family has experienced the same loss. What I did offer him is my forgiveness… I do expect, at some point, an apology from him, and basically wanted him to know how easy it is for one situation, one bad situation, to drastically change the rest of your life.”
She also had a chance to speak with Carter’s mother, who was also in the courtroom and offered to keep the Tabb family – Joetta and her three children – in her prayers.
According to Kentner, Tabb reportedly left the Brandon Glen apartment of Carter’s girlfriend, Sunday Proctor, around 4 a.m. on October 7, 2009. Proctor told police they had engaged in sexual intercourse. Tabb was shot outside her apartment three times – twice in the shoulder and once in the back. Police found him face down in the grass when they arrived.
Carter had called Proctor 86 times that night. He had also picked up another woman and brought her to a Motel 6, as seen by security camera footage, that night and brought her back to her residence around 3 a.m.
Kentner described the case as being based on circumstantial evidence, since there were no witnesses to the shooting. The murder weapon, a .32 caliber gun, was never recovered. However, there were two witnesses that placed a man that looked like Carter at the Brandon Glen Apartments at that time.
Tabb also still had his cash, cocaine, and BMW, which was in the parking lot, so it did not appear to be a robbery, said Kentner. There was no indication the victim and the defendent knew each other, she said.