DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Friends of a Durham convenience store clerk, shot and killed at work in 2015, say they hoped his killer would spend more time behind bars.
Robert Jackson pleaded guilty two counts of second-degree murder Tuesday for the deaths of the clerk, Mohamed Shoufar and Jackson’s own accomplice in the crime, Nicholas Bell.
Shoufar was working at the Buy Quick on South Briggs Avenue when he was fatally shot during a robbery in December 2015.
“It was like a whole bunch of rocks just came on top of me. I cried for a whole month. It was awful. I came to the store and it was not the same,” said Yesenia Garcia.
Garcia, 21, says she’s worked in the Buy Quick ever since he father bought it when she was a child. She says Shoufar became like family to her.
“He’s like my grandfather. The grandfather I never knew. I’ve never met any of the grandfathers I have, so he’s the only one I’ve got,” she said.
In January 2016, roughly two weeks after Shoufar’s death, Bell was found dead.
“Mr. Jackson pleaded guilty today to two counts of second-degree murder (it was an Alford plea). He was sentenced by Superior Court Judge John Dunlow to a minimum of 282 months and a maximum of 351 months,” said Jackson’s lawyer.
In an Alford plea, the defendant does not admit guilt, but recognizes there is enough evidence that a jury could convict the defendant.
Garcia says the sentence, roughly 23 years, is not enough.
“That’s not fair. That’s not right. It’s two murders,” she said. “He took something away from this community. Not just me. This whole community knows him. He’s family to all of us.”
Garcia says although Shoufar is gone, the lessons he taught her like compassion and generosity toward others lives on.
“Not having him here, there’s no shine pretty much. Everyday we miss him. He’s always missed,” said Garcia.
Friends of Shoufar said at the time of his death he was trying to bring his children to the United States in an effort to get them away from conflict and violence in his home country.