Man gets 78 years in prison for killing 8-year-old girl

RICHMOND, Texas (KTRK) -- Jacobe Payton has been sentenced to 78 years in prison for the murder of 8-year-old De'Maree Adkins nearly three years ago.

While De'Maree's family can't get her back, they got the justice they were seeking.

"No doing her hair. No waking her up for school. No college graduation. No marriage. No kids. I don't get any of that," said De'Maree's mom, LaToyia Jarmon-Thomas.

It's been a tough three years for Jarmon-Thomas as she lives without her daughter.

"He took my baby away from me," she told ABC13.

On the morning of Feb. 25, 2017, Jarmon-Thomas was heading home in her vehicle, with De'Maree in the backseat asleep.

READ MORE: Gunman opens fire on car after crash, kills 8-year-old

Jarmon-Thomas had a green light and was headed through an intersection. That was when, police said, a white Pontiac Grand Prix ran a red light near Fuqua and the Beltway. Jarmon-Thomas then hit the car.

De'Maree's mom was immediately worried about her daughter.

RELATED: Mom speaks as trial begins for the murder of her 8-year-old daughter

"I turned to her and I said, 'De'Maree.' She said, 'Yes, Mommy. What happened?' I said, 'We had a car accident. Are you okay?' She said, 'Yes, Mommy,' and went right back to sleep," Jarmon-Thomas recalled.

Minutes later, another Pontiac Grand Prix pulled up. Police said this one was driven by Payton. Officers said he started shooting at Jarmon-Thomas' car, hitting it at least four times. Two bullets went through the back passenger side of the car, killing De'Maree.

Since then, Jarmon-Thomas has been praying for justice.

"I was nervous," she said as the trial began. "Beyond nervous. My stomach was doing flips."

After eight hours, the jury reached a verdict: guilty.

Jarmon-Thomas was visibly relieved as the verdict was read, three years after losing her daughter.

"I'm elated," she said. "I've been waiting for this for three years. Three whole years."

"She's probably like yes, my mommy finally got justice for me," said Jarmon-Thomas.

READ MORE: Man accused in murder of 8-year-old girl claims he is being held illegally
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The man accused of the vicious murder of an 8-year-old girl says he's being held in jail illegally.

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