Judge sentences Bates to 20 years; admonishes lifestyle

Published 10:56 am Tuesday, March 24, 2009

NATCHEZ — Today two Natchez mothers are living without their sons.

Eighteen-year-old Jordan R. Bates was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison for the August 2008, shooting death of Charvius Martin, 24.

Bates was scheduled to stand trial for the murder on Tuesday, but he entered a guilty plea for manslaughter just as the jury was being selected.

Email newsletter signup

Holding back tears, Pamela Bates apologized for her son’s crime.

“She’ll never know the laughter of her child again,” Bates said of Martin’s mother. “I am so, so sorry this has happened to her.”

As Bates’ mother spoke, her son sat sullenly, and those in court’s gallery wiped tears from their faces.

Victim’s assistance coordinator Linda Futrell read a statement written by Sarah Martin Jones, Martin’s mother.

In the letter, Jones outlined the stress and anxiety she has experienced since her son’s death.

“My only son was murdered by someone he thought was a friend,” Futrell said reading from the letter.

District Attorney Ronnie Harper said the drug-related murder occurred when Martin and Erik Hutchins, 20, picked up Bates in a vehicle being driven by Martin, for a drug transaction.

The incident ended when Bates shot Martin twice in the back of the head, and Hutchins reportedly left the scene.

Harper said Bates, Hutchins and Martin were longtime acquaintances and were possibly friends since childhood.

Judge Forrest Johnson, who sentenced Bates, used the court filled with family and friends of both Bates and Martin, to warn against their lifestyles.

Johnson held a large photo of Martin’s bloody head that had been submitted as evidence for the court to see.

“This is not a video game or a TV show or a movie,” he said. “This is a real person and now he’s dead and gone. And two lives are very seriously impacted. It has to stop some place. There’s nothing good that comes from that way of life.”

Before Tuesday, Bates had no previous felony convictions Johnson said.

Harper said the charge of manslaughter was appropriate because it would have been difficult to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Bates had “malice aforethought,” meaning Bates’ actions were not premeditated.

After his sentencing Bates was handcuffed, hugged by his mother and brother, then taken out of the court.