Man gets 20 years for killing his child’s mother in Mississippi court

Published 9:06 pm Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Sixth District Circuit Court Judge Debra Blackwell sentenced Devonte Jackson to 20 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections for killing the mother of his baby daughter, Devonica Hammett.

“I have the information about the numerous times you went and sought Miss Hammett out because you were having fights and it seems to have always been about this child,” Blackwell said. “All of your fights were about this child. You went there and you killed this child’s mother. You killed this child’s mother. Now, this child who is about to turn three years old, will never know her mother. And she will grow up all of her formative years and she will not know her father. You didn’t just take her mother away. You took her father away.

“And if she ever wants to have a relationship with you or ever wants to see you, it may be that when she looks in your eyes that she hates you, that she despises you for taking her mother away. And it never had to happen. You never had to go there,” Blackwell said.

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Jackson accepted a plea deal of a reduced charge of imperfect self-defense manslaughter in September 2023.

It’s the district attorney’s job to determine whether to take a case to trial or accept a deal, Blackwell told Jackson.

“I believe that’s all the mercy you are entitled to. I don’t even know that you were entitled to that much mercy. But that’s all the mercy you are going to get from me,” she said before sentencing Jackson to 20 years in prison.

On Aug. 14, 2021, Jackson was charged with murder in the shooting death of Devonica Hammett. Both Jackson and Hammett were 25 at the time.

Jackson drove to Hammett’s residence, 206 Country Club Drive in Natchez, at approximately 3:14 a.m. The two had been in a verbal altercation over the phone before Jackson drove to the residence and got into a physical altercation with Hammett in the front yard, which escalated to the shooting.

Jackson shot Hammett multiple times during that early morning.

About seven of Hammett’s family members gave victim impact statements Wednesday before Jackson was sentenced. Most said they were upset because District Attorney Shameca Collins’ offered and accepted the reduced charges and plea deal.

“How do you start this process of forgiveness when he shot the mother of his own child? Still we see no remorse,” said Charlie Rogers, Hammett’s father.

Several of her relatives said “the system” failed Hammett, who they said sought restraining orders against Jackson on several occasions.

“The killer is getting off with a slap on the wrist,” said her sister.