An Indianapolis man convicted of killing a former Jacksonville resident in Indiana in September 2019 was sentenced to prison on Wednesday.
22 year old Justin M. Blake was sentenced to 58 years for the first degree murder of 23 year old Alexander D. Jackson, along with 3 years for robbery. Jackson’s remains were found in a ditch near a roadway in the Indianapolis suburb of Mooresville on September 13, 2019. A rental car Jackson had been driving was discovered wrecked in Indianapolis a day before his body was found. Police investigations later determined that Jackson had been murdered four days earlier by Blake.
Morgan County, Indiana Chief Prosecutor Steve Sonnega says that Blake will have to serve the majority of the sentence in an Indiana prison: “Under Indiana law, he has to serve 75% of his time. We were very satisfied with that. The victim’s family was there in attendance [Wednesday]…very satisfied with that. They had a chance to speak or provide victim impact letters, so we were very, very grateful…very thankful for the outcome.”
The next phase in the case begins on May 10th when 26 year old Britney D. Overton of Indianapolis, Blake’s alleged accomplice, faces similar charges of first degree murder and robbery in connection to Jackson’s death. Overton testified during Blake’s 8-day trial in February about the events leading up to Blake killing Jackson. Using use immunity, Overton told the Morgan County, Indiana court that Blake shot Jackson because Blake believed Jackson would “snitch” to police about a crime spree they had gone on the night of the murder. Sonnega believes there is enough evidence for the state to possibly convict Overton during her trial: “She testified under what’s known as use immunity, meaning her testimony would not be used against her in trial. We honored that and obviously everything that she said could not be used, but we do have pre-trial statements that she gave before we came upon the use immunity concept, and those statements can be used at her trial. We certainly have evidence we can present, and really, we didn’t give up anything by the offer of use immunity in the first case.”
Sonnega says that the state ultimately doesn’t believe that Overton was the trigger person in Jackson’s murder, bu they do believe she had a part in setting it up and believe they can prove that she definitely profited from it by taking Jackson’s rental car after the murder took place. Court records also show that Overton allegedly tried to get a gun just days before the murder, and that cellphone records and social media records show that Overton was at the scene of the crime.
During her testimony at Blake’s trial, Overton alleged a third person of interest was a part of the night of crime and that individual was also a witness to Jackson’s murder. Identified as “K.J.”, Sonnega says the true identity, if they exist, is still being investigated: “The initials K.J. could be many different people. We are not sure if we have the right K.J. and we don’t really have any evidence linking the person that we believe to be the right K.J. to the scene. Right now, I guess it’s just fair to say that it’s still in the investigatory stages. Is it possible that K.J. was fabricated? Sure. When you deal with Alex being deceased and then two or three other people that wait years before they come forward or they are charged, it’s a little hard to know for certain who was really involved.
“The strength of the case against Justin Blake was mainly in his confession to his grandmother. That confession really didn’t implicate himself and another person…it was just himself. We are certainly looking, and anyone that has information, our detectives are always all ears. I think at this juncture it’s going to take some pretty powerful physical evidence to identify K.J. for sure and then link him to the crime scene.”
Blake and Overton were apprehended and identified as the prime suspects in Jackson’s murder after a nearly 13-month long investigation by the Morgan County, Indiana Sheriff’s Office. Sonnega says that Overton’s potential sentencing if found guilty of the charges will be similar to Blake’s under Indiana law despite not being the person who committed the actual murder.