Mother of slain Thomasville man finds closure

Shooter sentenced to life
Jun. 19, 2013 @ 04:26 PM

Phoebe Shepherd finally has closure.

More than six years after the murder of her son, Shepherd sat in a High Point courtroom Monday as the man who pulled the trigger and ended Josh Sweitzer's life faced justice.

A jury found Keith Lauchon Jackson Jr. guilty of first degree murder and attempted robbery with a firearm for the death of Sweitzer, a 21-year-old Thomasville man who was shot in the head on Oct. 31, 2007, while working at his uncle's convenience store in High Point.

Following a week-long trial that included an escape attempt and Jackson telling the jury they had the wrong man, Superior Court Judge John O. Crag III sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

"I'm pleased with the jury's verdict," Shepherd said. "I'm grateful and very appreciative. It has been so long in coming. I've just patiently waited to get justice for Josh. I feel like Josh now can rest in peace."

Jackson's lawyer plans to appeal the ruling.

Jackson already is serving a 54-year federal sentence in connection to a string of armed robberies in High Point and Davidson County from December 2007 to January 2008. Jackson and three other men — Matthew Savoy, Marcel Orlando West and Ronnie Covington — were arrested in 2008 following a massive manhunt and investigation into a 10-robbery crime spree.

All four men admitted to being gang members with Jackson as the leader. Savoy and West pleaded guilty in 2008 to conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, and carrying and using, by discharging, a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

"I had hoped that after six years he would have remorse for what he did, acknowledge it and take responsibility for his actions, but that didn't happen," said Shepherd. "I have to accept that and go on with life. When they read the verdict he had a big grin on his face and at one point I think he even laughed. There was no remorse of any kind. It was very disheartening."

Shepherd said the last six and a half years have been difficult for her family, but overwhelming support from the community has aided the healing process.

"It's horrific and I wouldn't wish this on anyone," Shepherd said. "There's nothing anyone can say or do to bring Josh back. On behalf of our family, I just want to say thank you to everyone who prayed for us. Their prayers are what got us through this. This has been a difficult journey and people praying for us got us through."

Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or