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Watch now: 50-year prison sentence in killing of Windsor man

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Linda Hubbartt speaks in the courtroom where she had just watched Jason White receive a 50 year prison sentence. 

DECATUR — A distraught mother confronted the killer of her son in a Decatur courtroom and told him “you deserve to never breathe the air of freedom again” before the convicted murderer was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Imposing the sentence Tuesday, Macon County Circuit Court Presiding Judge Thomas Griffith ruled that 31-year-old defendant, Jason A. White, will have to serve every single day of the prison term.

Jason A. White

White

White was convicted after an October jury trial in the death of 22-year-old Zachary Hubbartt from Windsor. He had been lured to Decatur on Aug. 27, 2017, thinking he was going to do a deal to buy cannabis and was shot to death.

The jury decided White was innocent of a robbery charge and had not personally pulled the trigger, but then said the allegation that he was armed, or another person he was responsible for, was armed during the commission of the murder had been proven.

The ruling saw the judge add on an extra 15 years to the 35 year murder penalty to add up to the total sentence of 50 years.

Shooting

Police stand outside a vacant house in the 1200 block of East Condit Street in August 2017. The body of Zachary W. Hubbartt, 22, of Windsor, was found inside. 

Linda Hubbartt, the mother of the victim, made a victim impact statement in which she told White he had inflicted on her and her family the worst tragedy of their lives. 

Fighting back tears, she added: “I have nightmares and day terrors as I think about the terror Zach must have felt in his last moments of life … a moment that was planned and carried out by you.”

The 64-year-old woman told White he was a psychopath who deserved the death penalty. Failing that, she said he should “never have the opportunity for freedom or happiness; you took that away from my son, me, my husband …”

The victim’s father, Jeffrey Hubbartt, also fought back sobs as he told White: “I am sad, I am depressed, I’m angry and I’m also close to being homicidal like you.” He said he had got to “see my wife die that day” when first informed of the murder of their son and that White should never get out of prison.

“I hope you rot in jail,” he added. 

White had then risen to speak and, turning to face both parents, said: “I pray that God may bring peace to your hearts and you will forgive me. I know that I don’t deserve it and you probably hate me, which you should. But from the bottom of my heart, I am truly sorry.”

Defense attorney Michelle Sanders opened her presentation by asking for a new trial based on inappropriate comments made by one juror and what she said was an incorrect interpretation of the law in the case by the prosecution.

After Griffith had denied her motion, Sanders pleaded for White to get a sentence totaling 35 years. She said that would put him in his 60s by the time he gets out and by then he would surely not pose any threat to society. “I would ask the court to look at some of the rehabilitative potential for Mr. White,” she added. 

Macon County State’s Attorney Scott Rueter had argued for a sentence of 65 years because he said society had to be safeguarded from White, who has a long criminal history with repeated prison terms.

Passing sentence, Griffith said he appreciated the Hubbartt family’s pain and suffering. “Of course, I cannot impose a sentence based on vengeance, but I certainly can understand the feelings at times,” he said.


Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid

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