Ricardo Strozier pleads guilty to gruesome murder of radio DJ He - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Ricardo Strozier pleads guilty to gruesome murder of radio DJ Heath Jackson

Ricardo Strozier pleads guilty to gruesome murder of radio DJ Heath Jackson

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

After years of waiting a Columbus family finally found closure when the man accused of killing a radio personality admitted to the heinous crime.

Ricardo Strozier, 24, pleaded guilty to the September 2010 death of Christian radio disc jockey Heath Jackson.

It's been nearly three years since Jackson, 25, crawled from his home on the corner of Carter Avenue and 17th Street and collapsed in the driveway.

District Attorney Julia Slater said Jackson went home during lunch to meet his roommate; instead he came face to face with intruder Ricardo Strozier.

There was a struggle; Strozier shot Jackson 5 times; once in the left arm, head, and three times in the back. Strozier then fled the scene in a silver Acura.

He was captured less than 24 hours after the shooting.

Strozier faced charges of malice murder, felony murder, burglary, armed robbery, aggravated battery and possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony.

On July 19, 2011 DA Slater announced the state would seek the death penalty in this case.

Slater said the family agreed to seek the death penalty although they knew capital punishment cases could take upwards 20 years to litigate.

"Your honor, if I was standing here today on my own merit I would honestly have to say, I want the person responsible for Heath's murder to have the same," the victim's mother Angi Idell said.

In a turn of events, Strozier had a change of heart and so had the victim's family.

"In the last two and a half years, [the Jackson family] had some changes in circumstances in the family, Heath's grandfather had passed away and they had a change of heart. The family of Heath Jackson asked me to take the [guilty plea] offer," District Attorney Julia Slater said.

Strozier offered to plead guilty to Jackson's murder to save his own life.

"In the beginning I felt that the only justified punishment for Heath's murder to receive the death penalty. I wanted his family to hurt as bad as we hurt," Idell said. "I wanted him to be tormented with nightmares and dreams. I wanted him to physically suffer. I wanted his brother's and sister's to have to feel the pain of losing a brother. I wanted his nieces and nephews to have to grow up not knowing him. I wanted all of this and even more."

Many of Jackson's family members and friends shared bible verses that reminded them of him. His mother said time does heal.

"Because, I realized if my son Heath Jackson could speak to me, he would ask me to show you Mr. Strozier the same mercy and compassion that our lord has shown us," Idell said.

Strozier wanted to address the family and the court.

"There's not a day that goes by that I don't wish that I could undo the terrible things that I've done for his sake, your sake, my families sake and least of all for my own sake. I hope and I pray that you all will be able to find forgiveness in your heart for me. I know that may be difficult to do, but I want you all to know that I truly am sorry," Ricardo Strozier said.

Slater said Strozier was a career criminal committing 11 burglaries, over a two mile radius, from the Bibb City area to the Lake bottom neighborhood where Strozier was killed.

Slater says the 38-caliber revolver Strozier used to shoot Jackson to death with was stolen the previous year from a home on Virginia Street.

By accepting the plea deal, Strozier waived all of his rights to appeal the decision in the future.

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