Life in prison for killer in Colerain Township murder despite tearful plea

Earl Jones cries before he's sentenced for the murder of Kevin Neri in Colerain in 2016 (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Tears streamed down the face of a convicted murderer inside a Hamilton County Courtroom Thursday. Earl Jones was sentenced for shooting and killing Kevin Neri in May of 2016.

Jones shot Neri several times outside Neri's home on Overdale Avenue in Colerain Township. Neri was dating Jones' former girlfriend at the time. Jones and the woman have a child together.

Immediately after the shooting, Jones called 911 and claimed he fired the shots in self-defense.

A jury decided differently last month when they convicted Jones on aggravated murder, murder and carrying a concealed weapon charges.

Jones told the court that he's not a hateful man. He said he wished Neri was still here. "For the past 18 months, I've done nothing but pray, pray for myself, I've prayed for Kevin and I've prayed for his family to find peace."

Kevin's mother, Daneal Neri, talked about the loss of her son. "Nothing could have prepared me for loss of my son. When he took his last breaths, I felt it in the depths of my soul."

Jones' sister pleaded for mercy. "It truly pains me to stand here today and yet, I still stand by my brother. It hurts me that Kevin is gone and also, I'm reminded that my brother is gone from me. I can not hug him nor touch him or embrace good moments. The events on May 16th of last year could have been prevented but they were indeed enticed."

Judge Leslie Ghiz sentenced Jones to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Another three years was added for the gun charge. "You were adult enough to have a child. You were adult enough to hold a job. You were adult enough to buy guns. You were adult enough to carry a loaded gun in a car with you. You are going to have to suffer the adult consequences for your actions.

Local Black Lives Matters activists had said they believed the killing was racially motivated.

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