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Teen sentenced to 75 years in death of 21-year-old

Joseph Brown

jbrown@itemonline.com

HUNTSVILLE — A Huntsville teenager will spend most of his adult life behind bars.

A sentence imposed earlier this week in Walker County calls for the now 16-year-old Jamontre Mouton to serve 75 years in a state prison for the murder of 21-year-old Jalen McDuffie.

Mouton had previously been certified to stand trial as an adult by County Court at Law Judge Tracy Sorenson, after a certification hearing was held. Mouton was 15-years-old at the time of the murder.

Judge Hal Ridley of the 278th District Court presided over the six-day trial.

“Considering this juvenile’s criminal background, violent history and maturity level, we felt it was necessary to seek his certification to be tried as an adult where he would face a broader sentence than what the juvenile system would allow,” Walker County Criminal District Attorney Will Durham said. “It appears that one of the main reasons for the jury’s 75-year sentence was to protect our community from this defendant’s escalating violent conduct. I’m proud of the excellent preparation and trial work done by my office and by the investigating officers.”

The murder stems from a May 31, 2020 shooting that occurred at the Summit Apartments on Lake Road in Huntsville. Prosecutors say that Mouton shot McDuffie once in the throat and once in the back.

McDuffie later died from his injuries.

It was stated in court that Mouton had initiated the meeting to settle a disagreement over money owed to McDuffie.

The jury heard evidence from an eyewitness to the shooting, along with several others present at the apartment complex. Jurors heard testimony from Huntsville Police Department lead Detective Mark Jenkins, other HPD officers, as well as officers from the Sam Houston State University Police Department and Texas Rangers.

In the punishment phase, the jury heard testimony from a forensic psychologist, who stated that the defendant “showed no remorse for what he had done and had a careless disregard for the rights of others.”

Several family members testified for the victim and defendant.

The state also called a former Sam Houston State student, who was allegedly robbed at gunpoint by Mouton when delivering pizza.

A Texas Rangers’ forensic artist testified about his sketch of the suspect and Detective Jenkins conducted a photo lineup where Mouton was identified.

The lead prosecutor for the district attorney’s office was Senior Felony Prosecutor Jennifer Jenkins with Malori Martin, who previously handled the certification hearing, as the second chair.

“No jury verdict will be able to bring back Jalen. But thanks to the hard work of the Huntsville Police Department and the Texas Rangers, as well as the brave citizens of Walker County who came forward after witnessing this offense, justice could be served and a violent offender is off our streets,” Jenkins said.

Mouton will remain in the Walker County Jail. He will be taken to a Texas Department of Criminal Justice inmate processing center in the coming days.

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