By Kathy Jefcoats
JONESBORO — Convicted killer Wisdom Jeffery sat emotionless as friends and relatives of his dead wife vilified him in Clayton County Superior Court Tuesday.
He did not even flinch when shown a pink outfit once worn by their daughter, who was an infant when her mother died.
After hearing statements from family and friends of Corrissa Friends-Jeffery, Judge Matthew Simmons sentenced Jeffery, 40, to life without the possibility of parole. Simmons said Jeffery would be a threat even at 70. Simmons could have sentenced him to life with the possibility of parole in 30 years.
“I don’t see that any possibility of parole is appropriate,” said Simmons. “I don’t think he can be trusted at any point, even after 30 years in prison and at 70 years of age.”
Friends-Jeffery, 21, was shot several times in the Riverdale apartment she moved into with her baby, Casey, after leaving Jeffery. Jeffery was under court order to stay away from her.
However, Riverdale police found him inside the apartment about two hours before Friends-Jeffery was killed and ordered him to leave. Even that was a con, said Simmons.
“He had been told to stay away from her and he refused to do so,” he said. “He was told that night to leave and he conned the police into taking him to the police department to wait on a ride when, in fact, he walked right back over there and killed her an hour later.”
Simmons said Jeffery didn’t love his wife but considered her his property.
“This was not love, this was an obsession, this was ownership,” he said. “This was ‘If I can’t have you, no one else can. If you don’t do what I want you to do, you will do it by any means necessary.’ When the beatings and the punchings didn’t work, you used a shotgun.”
Among the friends and relatives giving impact statements was her stepmother, Jill Friends. She held up a bright pink onesie displaying the words “Daddy’s wrapped around my finger” once worn by Casey Friends.
"Looking at videos on your laptop, this outfit once meant something to you,” said Friends.
Relatives remained calm but hurled pain-filled words at Jeffery in an open display of grief.
“We cannot get Corrissa back, no matter how much we hate you,” said grandfather Charles Friends Sr. “I hope it’s true that inmates treat the killers of women and children differently. We wanted the death penalty but this allows the wound to close quicker. You are a selfish animal who preys on young women.”
Her grandmother, Patricia Friends, said burying her was the worst time of her life.
“A piece of my heart was buried with that child,” she said.
Assistant District Attorney Katie Powers asked for the maximum sentence.
“This was something horrific,” said Powers. “At no time has this defendant shown remorse or regret for any of his actions, for beating her or shooting her in the back of the head. Not for leaving her there and locking the door behind him or running away for a year and a half.”
After the sentencing, Friends-Jeffery’s sister, Chelsea Friends, said her focus is now on helping to raise Casey, 3. She said she misses her big sister.
“We went tanning, to get our nails done, to the mall — things sisters do,” she said. “I remember her getting her first car. We spent so much time together, which I am thankful for because you never know when someone is going to leave you.”