Jamal Kukla in prison for the murder of Jasmine Washington

Jamal Kukla on Thursday

Jamal Kukla during Thursday’s sentencing hearing (screenshot by WJW)

A 29-year-old Ohio man could spend the rest of his life behind bars for murdering a pastor’s 31-year-old daughter by beating the victim to death four years ago.

Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge Deborah Turner ordered on Thursday Jamal Kukla serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 15 years for murder Jasmine Washington, authorities announced.

A jury last month Kukla found guilty two counts of murder and one count each of assault, tampering with evidence and gross mistreatment of a corpse.

“In 2018, Jamal Kukla brutally murdered 31-year-old Jasmine Washington in the Slavic Village. After a two-year search for the killer, the Cleveland Police Department obtained a DNA sample from Kukla that matched evidence collected at the crime scene,” the county attorney said Michael O’Malley said after the verdict. “I hope that after today’s verdict, the family and friends of the victim can finally feel that justice has been served.”

According to the Cuyahoga County Attorney’s Office, Kukla beat Washington to death with a garden tool in September 2018 in Slavic Village. He then dragged the victim’s body behind the church steps and fled the scene. Cleveland Police Department Homicide Unit detectives and FBI agents were able to link Kukla to the murder after years of investigation. A DNA sample from the crime scene matched the sample taken by Kukla. He was taken into custody on May 27, 2020.

“Family analysis is increasingly tying DNA evidence from a crime scene to a suspect, providing investigators with clues that crack a case,” the Ohio Attorney General said David Yost said after Kukla’s arrest. “I am grateful that our Bureau of Criminal Investigations team was able to assist our local and federal partners in solving this brutal murder.”

Several Washington family members read impact statements on the victims before Judge Turner delivered the verdict.

“In her last hours she faced brutality and terror alone with someone who wanted to harm her and the thought of it is unbearable and the horror haunts me,” Washington’s stepmother said in the courtroom Video received from Cleveland Fox daughter WJW.

The victim’s father, Rev. Jacob WashingtonSaid to have said he forgave Kukla for taking his daughter’s life but will never forget it.

“She may have had some challenges,” Rev. Washington reportedly said, “but she was loved. She will not be forgotten.”

The Rev. Washington reportedly asked Judge Turner to sentence Kukla to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The judge said her hands were tied by state sentencing guidelines, however.

“I heard you, but what you asked of this court, this court has no authority to do,” the judge said, referring to why she could not prevent Kukla from ever being paroled.

Kukla reportedly did not apologize or speak in court during Thursday’s hearing, on the advice of the attorney. His defense attorneys reportedly said they intend to appeal the verdict and conviction.

[Image via WJW screenshot]

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https://lawandcrime.com/crime/ohio-man-sentenced-to-prison-for-beating-reverends-daughter-to-death-with-a-garden-tool-and-hiding-body-under-church-steps/ Jamal Kukla in prison for the murder of Jasmine Washington


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