A Bloomington woman was sentenced to 23 years in prison Monday in the 2018 stabbing death of Quantez Brown.
Leila Jackson apologized for killing the 24-year-old victim in what she contends was an act of self-defense after he showed up uninvited to her Bloomington apartment on July 17, 2018.
“I'm accountable for defending myself,” Jackson told Judge Scott Drazewski in a statement she read before he imposed the sentence.
The judge also heard from Jackson's adoptive mother, Joann Williams Link, who became emotional as she recalled taking Jackson in as a 4-year-old who had been left with a sibling in drug houses by addicted parents.
“She was pretty damaged. She didn't know what was going on,” said Williams Link. The new family surrounded Jackson and a second child from the family with love, she said.
“Everybody rooted for her,” said Williams Link.
Jackson earned a beautician degree and was doing well before the stabbing.
The judge also received a statement from the victim's mother, Angela Brown.
“My son was so full of life, respectful and caring,” Brown wrote in the statement read by prosecutor John Shim.
Brown carries her son's obituary with her, but cannot bear to read it, she said.
Defense lawyer Joe Moran asked for the minimum sentence of 20 years, noting Jackson's previously clean criminal record. Shim sought 28 years.
In his comments, the judge said mitigating factors outweighed negative factors in Jackson's case.
Drazewski found Jackson an unlikely candidate to commit a similar offense. Her completion of several programs while in jail and her past history as a victim of domestic violence also were cited as positive elements.
A sentence of 23 years was necessary to deter others from similar misconduct, said the judge.
Jackson will serve about 20 years after she received credit for 821 days in jail.
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