HOUSTON - Andre Jackson has been sentenced to life in prison for killing 11-year-old Josue Flores back in May 2016. The judge handed him the punishment Wednesday afternoon after hearing testimony.
Prior to the judge delivering the life sentence, Jackson addressed the court with a lengthy, prepared statement. You can find Jackson's statement to the court at the bottom of this article.
The sentence comes a day after a jury convicted Jackson of murdering Josue by stabbing him more than 20 times as he walked home from middle school. Following the week-long trial, during which the jury heard from forensic experts, police interrogation videos and emotional testimony, jurors deliberated for just three hours on Tuesday before arriving at their decision.
The Marine Corps veteran, who spent eight months in Iraq and was living in a Salvation Army shelter, broke down as the guilty verdict was read in court. He sobbed into the table.
Josue's family reacts
Following the verdict on Wednesday afternoon, Josue's family came out hand in hand and delivered a statement in Spanish during a news conference. Josue's family had been waiting for justice for six years since their little boy, who dreamed of being a doctor, was taken so viciously.
"We are emotional and happy, satisfied with the system," Josue's father said in Spanish.
He added that despite the problems and the passing of time, he always trusted the system, justice, and government.
"I'm thankful that at the end, there was justice for my son, Josue Flores."
He and his wife also thanked everyone who was present for their support and prayers.
"May it remain in our minds and hearts that Josue, his memory, his way of being, the student he was, his smile ... all that legacy that he left," Josue's father said growing emotional as he spoke of his boy. "Always remember him with love."
Josue's best friend shares his thoughts
Josue's best friend, Angel Nario, shared his feelings after Andre Jackson was sentenced to life behind bars after being found guilty of killing Josue six years ago.
"Before this victory today, every time we thought of Josue, all they could think about was the injustice that his murder was ever caught. That's the only thing that came to mind. And that was not the way I wanted to remember him. I wanted to know him by his smile. I wanted to know him by his enjoyment, by his excitement for learning, and his passion for making everybody happy. I didn't want that memory to stay that way.
And I'm glad that it changed today. Because the last thing he ever told me before, his tragic murder, was a promise that we made to each other. He told me that no matter how we changed in the future, no matter how we became as people, no matter what happened, we'd be there for each other, we'd be best friends, and we'd never let the other person down."
Defense team shares statement
"First of all, I'd like to say that we have condolences for the family. We feel for this horrible, horrible crime. It's hard not to feel sympathy for the family. At the same time, convicting the wrong person isn't justice. Two wrongs do not make a right. We had the opportunity – all of the attorneys to speak to the jurors, after the trial, and uniformly they stated that the difference between a not guilty and guilty was the DNA evidence, just the DNA evidence. And in this case, it's trace DNA evidence.
Literally, the technology has advanced so far, that they can get a trace, or an identification for just five or 10 skin cells. I walk around all day long, leaving skin cells on doors, on handles, things of that nature. So it's not probative of a murder. This, in our opinion, is a big problem with contamination. I fear for the future. If this is all it takes to convict somebody of murder, it should be concerning for the citizens that, that this is all it takes."
**Editor's note: This statement was posted to the best of our ability due to audio issues and not having a written copy of the statement.**
"I did prepare a statement. I did prepare I wasn't expecting to say the statement before hearing the verdict or the citizen, Your Honor. But I will read it as I wrote it. I wrote it. I'm sorry, I wrote it, thinking that I would say this after. And I put some edits, because I wrote it thinking that I would read it before, but then I told I would only be able to speak afterwards. So with the edits, I have just read as it is, okay, so I apologize.
I initially prepared 20 pages back and front, as an aggregate of rhetoric from throughout my stint in jail in anticipation of this moment. Sometimes less is more. But with this case, I've grown more outspoken while trying to convey my truth and advocate my agendas. All of my perspective wasn't included in the strategy. And I'm not mad at that. All of my questions weren't asked or answered. But I'm not sure that, that was consequential. I was always prepared to lose. I've heavily founded statistics and have conducted and compiled my own research and criminal justice topics. But when it comes to the law, my analysis is just part of the crowd. And the law is sometimes clear to some and its very nature is arbitrary, which is why we litigate matters because everybody interpreted different. It varies from state to state. I'm at no shortage for lobbies and policy that could change the way things are. You and I both saw the responses Your Honor to rudimentary legal concepts, this precariously diverse American sample gate at jury selection, presumption of innocence, further concepts of reasonable doubt being introduced may have been too philosophical or scholarly persona, notwithstanding touch DNA, skin cells, and DNA transmission or transfer, which is not a scientific theory, or some scenario that occurs only in controlled environments or lab, and apparently not common sense or common knowledge. So I don't understand why they made this decision. But it seems that they missed the whole point about my DNA not being found on any of his items, not his shirt, bottoms, backpack or jacket, nor at the scene of the crime, and that the tiny, tiny, tiny amount of skin cells on my cup. But nowhere else on me or my clothes is inconsistent, in my opinion with a violent attack like that. And I love science. Not only was I a chemical, biological radiological nuclear defense specialist, but I won an award from the American Chemical Society to the nature sector in high school for my academic achievement in chemistry. I have one of the highest averages out of all the students that are here to receive the award with me. But we've seen people's arguments about science with COVID. This jury didn't even trust a Johns Hopkins and Harvard grad.
But moving on, I hope that you do feel what I'm saying, because that's why they're saying they convicted me. That still doesn't mean that I killed Josue. And I said, what's done is done next, thinking that I would have my sentence. But I can assure you that I'm a man with a beautiful personality. My finances don't define me. Where I live doesn't define me. My tax bracket doesn't define me. I'm well traveled and have lived across the nation. I had traditional Christian Baptist values. I have ethics and morals that I've picked up from the Marine Corps in my own experience in life. I'm rough around the edges. I can be very assertive. I like it that way and know everyone doesn't always agree with me and I don't always go along, to get along, as I'm frequently advised. I understand sometimes silence is the smartest remark. But I do curse I do have, I do, or have on occasion, written scathing, scathing things or even spoken viscerally to people using harsh words. There's a difference between that and their idea of this murder. I love life, respect people's liberties, love, freedom of speech, and a lot of other things 33-year-olds and millennials do. I'm ambitious. I know who I am. I know what I am. I'm amicable. So many people would describe me as such. I'm shy in many contexts. I've developed independence as a trait or a scheme early on in life. And throughout adolescence, I thrive in social settings, finding my path and place in life and becoming comfortable in leadership roles. But it's clear, Americans are still assimilating and many experiencing growing pains as we all do, and they don't want to leave their bubbles, or they just like being alone. And that's fine. We all don't get along.
To my point, we are living in times of exoneration movement, critical race theory, criminal justice reform, social justice, police brutality, extremism, radicalism, autocracy, mental health awareness, social media conspiracy theory paradigms and conundrums and so much more heartaches and buzzwords and the light come out every month.
To get down to it, I've seen most of the stories about plea bargains resulting in 40 years for murder charges. I have a list of at least 20 that I just felt like noting. In the spirit of equity, I think everybody should get the same mandatory sentence. The same bond, give or take. But the double standards and desecration is stark. People are under the impression that it's 35% required time to serve before parole eligibility. A lot, a lot of burners, alleged or convicted. Most get out after 12 years. We all know what case by case means. I'm not saying there's a problem necessarily with that. And different people have different priorities when assessing sentences, different opinions. I ask that you understand that. I have been in jail for the past three years on a $500,000 bond, I found to be excessive. Others have had reductions, PR bonds and affordable bonds as low as $50,000 on murder charges. Others have had, I'm sorry I said that. That's neither here nor there. But in these three years, in those three years, I've been in jail 23 hours per day, as I mentioned, and under COVID restrictions as a high profile inmate with increased, marginally increased, restrictions while everyone else enjoyed access to school, work programs, offering credit for their time off their sentence, access to religious services, all day freedom, and social interaction with one another and recreation with one another, multiple times a week and a host of conveniences.
The same will be true for me in prison, Your Honor. And I'm not here to reference or cite people in their cases, but it's a reality. And if I'm not in a 23 or 24 hour lockup with inmates, who are either mental health patients or more aggressive, problematic, and I'll be targeted for my charge and association with Josue's case. They don't care about evidence. They don't care about reasonable doubt. They care about race and that it was a child.
They'll stab and kill me jumping. It's worse for me. extended periods of solitary confinement is safe, yet detrimental at the same time almost inhumane, that's not fair. Prison is not where I belong. The defense opened the can of worms with their probe of the investigation and a storm of suspicion but to no avail. Your Honor, I'm asking you to right the wrongs in the system. We know what the National Crime Information Center says and National Incident Reporting System states about criminology, and we have all sorts of prison statistics. And I know I'm maybe forsaking continuity, but I have pristine standards for myself. The world needs me people like me. I'm asking that you think about everyone else in fairness, haze and hate is not humane. Hazing, I'm sorry, hazing is not humane. An eye for an eye is from the Dark Ages. And it's archaic, in my opinion. Today's justice is not yesterday's justice. I couldn't dig up critical people to testify in one day, or from my position. But there are 1,000's of people out there who love me, who can vouch for my character. Empathy is today's need, forgiveness is today's need, love is today's need. Equality and fairness is today's need. These are lessons we could all benefit from. Revenge is not justice. I'm asking you, after already hearing your thoughts, who is a five-year sentence befitting for, it's a floor prescribed by law. Anyone would understand that the reason I should have a low sentence is in the interest of justice with respect to my history and background, the elements of the case and inexplicable or unexplained decision of the jury who seem to have miscarried justice and the conditions and climate in prison. I believe the sentence should reflect the hard work and performance of my team. All things considered, and a new pioneering administration of justice, a modern and fair form of justice.
There's so much I could have said, but I'm at a loss for words. I know that God will punish Josue's killer. But does everyone else believe this? I think psychology has a lot to deal with all this is an obsession with true crime and crime dramas. But in them, they always get their guy. Never mistake, killer Kirk's never get away. And the wrong guy is never the person paying for the crime. This is not a reality to people, fiction or nonfiction. The show's watched by so many, don't go there. I've never been into those type of shows with, I've never been into those type of shows. They're my least favorite TV interests. I just don't understand them. And I'm closing here. There's so much that can be said about the American psyche, about the trial, about trial and criminal justice. But I didn't prepare that. I wish I could take questions, but in a world, I worked very hard in my life. I am a very open person. I like how God created me and I will always have self-respect and defend my character. In my life, I always had a plan. I have goals, dreams, never imagined this would happen to me. My life basically has already been ruined, shattered. I can't say much about Josue his family. How some people might be rationalizing that, that is what I should be talking about. But at this point, they have a guilty verdict. I'm not sure whether they believe I'm the right guy. But none of my dozens of Hispanic and Latino comrades like cert closely with befriended in my life would ever believe that. I wish everyone could have had the chance to know who I really am.
For all of you who believe in my innocence, thank you to everyone who has supported me with prayers. Thank you. There's 1,000's of people who might look back and remember me or reminisce on a time in their life. And I may come to mind and see what has happened to me, might not be fair to them. I can go on and on with double standards intercultural and intercultural. But this is another stat are Black men in America when white community dominate suppression and oppression, proactivity. This case, in my opinion, needs to be reviewed. I urge any court watchers and any of the advocates that I reached out to, congressmen and organizations, to do something. I got nothing when I reached out to them over the time that I was arrested. I felt like people sort of sat back and watched this happen, but although it may seem that people's confidence had been taken in their daily dignity, I asked them to arise and say that it's not over for me yet. With all respects, your honor, I appreciate anything that you would give me, by of course prepared, that I in no way wanted to be inflammatory with anything that I stated, and I still at this time send my condolences to the family. Some people may be critical of me being not remorseful I know that's a common thing that people say you know everyone has their emotions come about in a different way, and I don't know what to say which is why I prepared something."