Convicted murderer in 11-year-old's stabbing sentenced to life in prison

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A judge has sentenced Andre Jackson, who was convicted of murdering 11-year-old Josue Flores in 2016, to life in prison.

Jackson testified during Wednesday's proceedings ahead of Judge Denise Collins' decision. He could have been given a minimum of just five years, but Judge Collins instead decided on the maximum term possible.

Before learning his sentence, Jackson, who was convicted just the day before, remained defiant of the guilty verdict from a jury of his peers.

"I worked very hard in my life. I will always have self-respect and defend my character," Jackson read from a lengthy, prepared statement.

In his presentation, he insisted that prison "is not where I belong," and that his DNA was not on the clothing worn on that day.

He then talked about Josue and the doubt of whether he was indeed the killer.

"I can't say much to Josue and his family. At this point, they have a guilty verdict. I'm not sure if they believe they have the right guy," Jackson said before invoking race. "This is about Black men in America."

He concluded with some self-awareness and continued defiance.

"I don't want to be inflammatory. I give my condolences to the family (but) people may fault me for not being remorseful," Jackson said.

Testimony from the sentencing phase

Jackson's demeanor Wednesday greatly differed from the day before when a jury read the guilty verdict for the Houston boy's 2016 stabbing. He smiled and was talking with his attorney remarkably more than he was seen at any other point in the past seven days of his trial. This was in contrast to the tearful breakdown he had Tuesday afternoon.

Jackson decided to have Judge Collins sentence him as opposed to jurors.

The prosecution had Josue's father and sister take the stand and face Jackson during Wednesday's proceedings. Both explained the positive and negative impacts Josue's passing had on them.

Through a Spanish-language translator, Juan Flores explained the difficulty his family had trying to move forward, to the extent that they moved away from the neighborhood where Josue was killed so his other children didn't have to constantly be reminded of what happened.

Josue's sister, Guadalupe, revealed he inspired her nursing career path from the start of his life.

"A lot was taken away from us as a family. We didn't get to say goodbye. I didn't get to give him a goodbye hug or kiss," Guadalupe said.

Heart wrenching of all, as she mentioned several times, was that Josue died alone.

"We were robbed of the opportunity to give him comfort," she said. "I can only do the next best thing. Nursing is the next best thing. I can bring comfort to people when they are alone."

The state's last witness was Josue's best friend, Angel Nario, who was likely the last person to see him alive. He recalled leaving school with Josue the day he was killed, later parting ways with a handshake and a hug.

"To this day, I have not had a best friend like Josue," Nario said, adding that both he and Josue should be graduating high school together this month.

Then, Jackson's attorneys got their turn to call character witnesses, beginning with Jackson's stepfather who described his stepson as a role model to his siblings.

The stepfather also mentioned Jackson's accomplishment as a Marine, who was honorably discharged. Jackson had no disciplinary issues in school, but after the murder charges were previously dismissed in 2017, they called it a bump in the road.

Jackson's younger brother was next to take the stand. He described the man who would be convicted of murder a father figure to him and his sibling.

Defense lawyers moved on to Jackson's mother, who said her son, born during her U.S. Navy service, was a model student and top of the class. Still, Jackson had transitional issues when he left the military, his mom said, noticing behavioral changes including isolation and anti-social traits.

She said she wanted him to get help for anxiety and PTSD, but admitted she later lost touch with him after he moved away from her.

When she first learned her son was accused of the heinous act, she believed it to be a mistake.

Just the day before, the Flores family sat in silence as the verdict was read by a jury that deliberated for less than three hours.

SEE RELATED STORY: Andre Jackson faces 5 years to life in prison after conviction in 11-year-old Josue Flores' murder

"We the jury, find the defendant, Andre Timothy Jackson, guilty of murder as charged in the indictment," said a member of the jury.

The Flores family waited six years for a guilty verdict.

During the trial, the defense team tried to convince the jury this was a botched investigation, but prosecutors said Jackson was seen running from the area after the murder. Josue's DNA was also found on Jackson's coat.

Prosecutors also told jurors the only way the boy's DNA could have been on his coat is if Jackson killed him.

Ever since the murder six years ago, a memorial on the north side demanded justice for Josue. ABC13 was told that with the guilty verdict, the demand has been met and the memorial will be dismantled.

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