NASHVILLE — Several people stifled sobs Wednesday when a guilty verdict was read in the 2011 murder of Jakwan Esquire Pittman.
Cornelius Javon Clark, 37, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. Officials said Clark slashed the throat of Pittman, 33, during a June 4, 2011, fight inside Club Rain, 349 Falls Road.
Superior Court Judge Marvin Blount III gave the jury of six men and six women instructions to determine whether Clark was guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter or not guilty. After about an hour and a half, the jury returned with a unanimous verdict.
“I’m glad now that the verdict has been read and he was found guilty,” said Peggy Perry, the grandmother of one of Pittman’s six children. “I feel better knowing he will be punished, and Jakwan can rest in peace.”
Loved ones of Clark and Pittman sat through testimony from the prosecution and defense Tuesday and then the closing arguments Wednesday morning. Coletta Wilson, Pittman’s girlfriend, said she broke down when she heard former Rocky Mount police officer Russell Smith testify about being the first to grab the victim after Clark slit Pittman’s throat with a knife.
“As I picked him up, he still had a drink in his hand as blood was spurting from his throat area,” Smith testified. “That image is distinctly in my head.”