BREAKING: Hitman in 2018 Fourth of July murder handed life sentence

Jermaine Washington Jr. — found guilty of first-degree murder by an unanimous jury in April — will spend the rest of his life behind bars for his role as the hitman in the 2018 Fourth of July death of Dorian Colston.

Judge Robert Wyatt sentenced Washington to life in prison Friday morning for shooting Colston, 21, eight times in a vehicle parked against a tree in a ditch on U.S. 90 near Jones Road. Washington also received 20 years in prison on one  count possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Karrington Henry, the driver accused of bringing Washington to the scene — and said he was paid $2,000 for his services — was sentenced earlier this year to 22 years for his role in the crime. During Washington’s trial, Henry testified that Washington told Colston he needed his help to commit a robbery. The pair agreed to meet on U.S. 90 outside of the Iowa, La., city limits. Henry said he borrowed his sister’s car and drove Washington to meet Colston.

“Dorian pulled up behind my car, Jermaine got out and got in the car with Dorian,” Henry testified. “They pulled off and went the other way on 90 so I kept driving toward my cousin’s house. A few minutes later, Jermaine called for me to pull back up.”

Henry said when Colston returned, Washington shot him multiple times then got back in the passenger seat of Henry’s car. “He killed Dorian right then,” Henry said. “I saw the flames from the gun and Jermaine getting out of the car. Dorian’s car hit me from the back so I pulled up some and then Dorian’s car went into the ditch.”

Prosecutor Charles Robinson said Washington called Colston 20 times the night of the murder to make sure “he would be in the right place at the right time — or in this case the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“He then left him there to die and went to collect his money,” Robinson said.

Louisiana State Police Trooper Carlos Spina testified that Colston was discovered unresponsive, laying in the driver’s side seat. Calcasieu Coroner Dr. Terry Welke testified Colston was shot in the chest, shoulder, hip, bicep, elbow and arm from someone standing outside of the passenger side of the vehicle.

During the trial, expert witnesses told jurors cell phone pings show Washington was in the car with Colston minutes before the murder. Then the cell phone pings show them separating as Washington got back into the vehicle with Henry.

Henry said when Washington got back into the car, he drove the pair to Opelousas Street and Washington found a storm drain to drop the gun in. Cell phone pings also put Washington on Opelousas Street later that night.

Henry, who was initially charged with first-degree murder, took a plea deal for the lesser charge of obstruction of justice in exchange for his testimony. Josiah Jackson, who allegedly hired Washington to kill Colston, is out on bond, but has been charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

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