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Man gets 50 years for killing grandmother

Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
Jerkeylon Norvell, 24, of Dallas pleads guilty to murdering his grandmother during a plea hearing held by Zoom Thursday in the 59th state District Court. Norvell, shown in the middle of the photo wearing a mask, must serve half of his 50-year sentence before he will be eligible for parole.

A 24-year-old Dallas man was sentenced to 50 years in prison Thursday after pleading guilty to murder in the death of his grandmother back in February of 2020.

In April, Jerkeylon Norvell, was indicted on one count of murder and one count of aggravated assault in the death of 62-year-old Anne Wilson.

During a hearing held by ZOOM Thursday, Norvell said nothing that explained why he killed his grandmother.

At the time of the shooting, Denison Police Lt. Mike Eppler said officers responded to a shots fired call at the Circle Apartments at 1527 S. Austin Ave. around 10:30 p.m. Feb. 13, and when they arrived, they found a woman who had been shot.

That woman turned out to be Anne Wilson.

A statement from Grayson County District Attorney Brett Smith Thursday said Wilson told police at the scene that the person who shot her was her grandson. When police called Wilson's husband, the statement said he advised that Jerkeylon Norvell was the likely suspect.  

"Minutes later, the detective was advised that Norvell had surrendered to Sherman Police" Smith's statement said. "While the detective was responding to Sherman, he learned the victim had died. Upon arrival in Sherman, it was determined that Norvell had surrendered to a Sherman Police Officer advising he needed to go to jail because he shot someone in Denison. Norvell was found wearing a security uniform and had an empty holster on his hip. It was determined that Norvell was a state licensed security guard. Norvell was read his warnings, but refused to give any further statement or reveal the location of the firearm. A search of his vehicle revealed handgun ammunition which was identical to ammunition recovered from the scene of the shooting. Norvell was later discovered to have written a letter to the victim’s husband from jail confessing to killing her."

According to the plea agreement that Judge Larry Phillips described during the hearing, the state dropped the aggravated assault with a deadly weapon family violence charge against Norvell in exchange for his guilty plea. The guilty plea to murder got him a 50 year sentence and the finding that a deadly weapon was used during the offense means he will have to serve half of that 50 years before he becomes eligible for parole.

Without the plea, if convicted, Norvell would have faced a punishment range of five years to 99 years or life in prison on the murder charge.

When asked if he was pleading guilty no other reason than he was guilty, Norvell stumbled a little and said something about it being an accident.

Assistant Grayson County District Attorney Don Hoover explained that the state could not go forward with the plea unless Norvell was saying that he was pleading guilty to knowingly and intentionally killing his grandmother. 

Dressed in an orange jumpsuit and rubbing his hands together as though he were cold, Norvell took a beat or two and then said he was pleading guilty to that. 

When it came time for the victim impact statement in the case, Norvell balked. He asked if he had to sit and listen to the statement which was given by his paternal aunt Deyona Kirk. 

After hearing that he did have to remain seated while the statement was read, Norvell turned the camera up so that his face could no longer be seen as she started speaking. About mid way through what she was saying, someone moved the camera back to down to show Norvell's face.

Kirk expressed displeasure at the fact that Norvell did not have to explain his actions to go forward with the plea. She said he owed that much to his grandmother's children, grandchildren and the great grandchildren she would never met.

"Why did you kill your granny?" she asked. "Our family was not perfect, ... but she loved you and she thought you loved her." 

Kirk asked how he could shoot his own grandmother and leave her dying on the ground. "Did you hate us more than you loved her?" she asked. 

She concluded with, "May God have mercy on your soul, Jerkeylon."

Sherman attorney Rick Dunn represented Norvell in the case and told Judge Phillips that Norvell has been able to understand the charges against him and assist with his defense even though Dunn had requested a mental health evaluation earlier in the process.

Dunn explained that was based on statements Norvell made after his arrest at the time of the incident and on things family told him, not on Norvell's actual behavior during their time working together.

In the statement released by the DA's Office, Hoover said, “We commend Detective Kyle Mackay, Texas Ranger Brad Oliver, and all the officers and detectives of Denison P.D. for their excellent work on this case. The victim, Annie Wilson, was a mother, grandmother, and loved by all who knew her. We may never know the motive for this senseless tragedy, but we were certainly able to prove both who did the crime and how it was done.”

District Attorney Brett Smith added, “Recent published studies have shown an increase in murders nationwide and Grayson County has not been immune from this trend. However, law enforcement in this county is up to the task and works tirelessly to bring these cases to justice.