A Kokomo man will now serve the next 18 years in prison after being sentenced in Howard Superior Court 1 on Tuesday in relation to a 2018 Thanksgiving Day shooting that killed 28-year-old Kokomo resident Jamea Parker.
As part of a recent plea deal, Cameron Wood, 24, was sentenced on felony charges of unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, a Level 4 felony, and reckless homicide, a Level 5 felony.
Several other charges including murder, a Level 1 felony for which he was originally arrested on, were dismissed.
For most of the hearing, Wood sat motionless in the defendant’s chair, though he occasionally lowered his head when his grandmother approached the stand and told the court about the young man she has raised since he was a toddler.
“He needs help,” Barbara Matthews, Woods’ grandmother, said through her tears. “Show him some mercy. He has been through a lot.”
Matthews also told the court that Wood had expressed remorse for the details surrounding the shooting incident and that she wanted him to be able to have a way of transitioning back into society once he leaves jail.
“I feel like this, sending him back to prison and not getting him some type of help, he’ll continue to go back to prison [in the future],” Matthews said. “I want him to grow and be a man and take care of his [7-year-old] daughter.”
Darlene Campbell, Parker’s mother, also spoke in court on Tuesday and aimed her comments directly at Wood during most of her testimony.
“I want to just ask you why,” she said. “... How do you think I feel as a mother who doesn’t have a child? You didn’t care about who you shot at. What were you trying to prove? ... All I have are memories and pictures. I think about this every day. I cry every day.
“I didn’t even want to come here today,” Campbell continued. “It hurts me to sit up here and look at you. If you have any remorse in your heart, I want to hear how sorry you are for taking my baby. ... Quit trying to be something you’re not. Grow up and be a man.”
In his statement to the court, Wood talked about that shooting and asked for forgiveness for his actions that day.
“I’m sorry to everybody,” Wood said as he turned around and looked at Campbell. “... I think about this every night. I try to read the Bible every night and ask for forgiveness.”
Around 3 a.m. on Nov. 22, 2018, officers were dispatched to the Greatt Escape, 2411 N. Washington St., in response to shots being fired in the area, according to court records at the time.
Upon arrival, a witness told police that they heard a commotion outside the bar before seeing two black males running between houses and an alley and a Ford pickup truck leave the bar at a high rate of speed.
An officer also located five 9mm shell casings in the bar’s parking lot, and Parker’s body was found around three hours later lying in a driveway in the 1900 block of North Buckeye Street.
She had suffered a gunshot wound to her back, and police noted that shell casings were also located on the ground around her.
Police eventually obtained surveillance footage from that night, and it appeared to show a fight break out near an outside doorway on the north side of the bar.
The footage also showed a pickup truck traveling by the bar’s north parking lot, and people appeared to duck “as if shots were being fired from the truck,” the probable cause affidavit stated at the time.
Wood emerged in that moment, ducked behind a car in the parking lot, removed a gun from his waist and began shooting several shots toward the pickup, court records indicated.
One of those shots struck and killed Parker, who investigators said was an innocent passenger in the vehicle.
During Tuesday’s sentencing, Wood told the court that he didn’t know Parker was in the pickup truck when he fired in its direction, but the prosecution argued that he had already had an active warrant out for his arrest at the time the incident occurred.
That warrant was something that Judge William Menges addressed on Tuesday before handing Wood his sentence.
“You were in a place you shouldn’t have been, with people you shouldn’t have been with and with a gun you shouldn’t have had,” Menges said. “As a result, Jamea Parker is dead.”