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Waiting for an ambulance around midnight on July 16, 2019, Sue Gordon cried out to her 19-year-old grandson, “Just hold on.”

Recalling the heinous night she lost her eldest grandson, Gordon told 12 strangers in a courtroom how, as a trained nurse, she kept thinking to herself, “How can I fix this?”

On that tragic night, Jackson left his grandparents’ house to buy just $30 of marijuana from a teenage drug dealer, Akhemu Dunston. A Pontiac G8 pulled up at the corner of Whippoorwill Road and Cumberland Drive. From the passenger seat, Dunston stole Jackson’s phone. In a frantic moment, Jackson jumped on the side of the car, cradling the window as he tried to get his phone back. The driver, Dallas McCabe, accelerated, and as Jackson was being dragged by the car, Ryan O’Neal pulled out a 9 mm handgun and shot him.

Last Thursday, a jury convicted O’Neal of malice murder. Superior Court Judge Lawton Stephens sentenced O’Neal to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years and five years in confinement for possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

The other two defendants, Akhemu Dunston and Dallas McCabe, will be tried for murder at a later date.

All three participated in their own way, prosecutor Sheila Ross said in her closing statements.

For more on this story, see the April 8 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, call (706) 769-5175 or visit the tab on our website. 

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