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Jury returns all guilty counts in quick verdict

Photo by Kathy Jefcoats
Juror Sarah Moore (left) talks to Patricia Friends after the jury convicted the man who killed her granddaughter.

Photo by Kathy Jefcoats Juror Sarah Moore (left) talks to Patricia Friends after the jury convicted the man who killed her granddaughter.

By Kathy Jefcoats

kjefcoats@news-daily.com

JONESBORO —It took a Clayton County jury less than an hour Wednesday to convict a Riverdale man of killing his estranged wife in 2010.

Wisdom Jeffery, 40, was convicted on all counts related to the Aug. 11, 2010, shotgun death of Corrissa Friends-Jeffery, 21. Jeffery showed no reaction to the verdicts. After he killed his wife, Jeffery fled Georgia. He was captured in Ohio in February.

The victim's grandmother, Patricia Friends, was elated and relieved as each guilty verdict was announced.

"What a great Christmas present," she said.

Jeffery will be sentenced Tuesday at 9 a.m. Clayton County Assistant District Attorney Katie Powers will ask Superior Court Judge Matthew Simmons to sentence Jeffery to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Powers said justice was finally served the Friends family.

"This has been two years coming for closure for the family," she said. "I think we can look at the speed by which the verdict was returned and see that the jury recognized the truly horrible nature of this crime."

Most of the jurors talked to the family when court ended. Jurors Maria Rivera and Sarah Moore talked about deliberations. Both women said the quick verdict was due to the clear evidence presented by Powers.

"With all the evidence, we knew it was him," said Moore. "The clear evidence spoke for itself as well as she (Friends-Jeffery) did. We all agreed on everything, everything was so clear."

Rivera said there was nothing hard about convicting Jeffery.

"He had no remorse for what he did," she said. "There was nothing difficult about it, seeing his reaction, there was no need to debate."

Testimony revealed an abusive relationship, nearly from the time the couple began dating. The victim was 17 and working at the family's car wash business in 2007 when Jeffery came in as a customer. He was about 17 years older.

"I told him 'She's jail bait,'" Patricia Friends testified Tuesday. "'You touch her and I'll call the police.' He just kept looking at her, looking her up and down."

Friends said her granddaughter moved out in 2009, supposedly with girlfriends, but in reality with Jeffery. She got pregnant in early 2009, delivered a daughter, Casey, Dec. 7, 2009, and married Jeffery Dec. 28, 2009.

By August 2010, the couple had separated and Jeffery was out on conditional bond after his arrest for assaulting her. He was to have absolutely no contact with her, according to the bond.

Riverdale police found him inside her Church Street apartment Aug. 10 and ordered him to leave. An hour after police left the apartment, they returned to find Friends-Jeffery shot to death in her bedroom. Jeffery was gone.

The crime and his flight from justice were profiled twice on "America's Most Wanted." After the second airing, Jeffery was found in Ohio and returned to Georgia in February.

Since her death, Friends-Jeffery's grandparents, Patricia and Charles Friends, have battled with Jeffery's family for custody of Casey, who turned 3 Friday. With the conviction, Charles Friends said another hurdle has been cleared.

"We're absolutely delighted," he said. "I'm relieved we don't have to worry about where the baby is going to be. She's going to be with us."

The Friends family will be back in court Tuesday for Jeffery's sentencing. They plan to ask Simmons to send Jeffery to prison for the rest of his life.