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Fight breaks out in court hallway after teen sentenced for Akron METRO bus murder

Families fight after Kavon Jackson gets 18-years-to-life
Posted at 5:53 PM, Dec 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-06 20:20:44-05

AKRON, Ohio — Tension from a sentencing hearing in a murder case at the Summit County courthouse spilled into the hallway on Tuesday leading to a fight between two families.

Several minutes after Judge Christine Croce sentenced Kavon Jackson to 18-years-to-life in prison for killing William Howell on a METRO RTA bus, families from both sides began yelling at each other and throwing punches in the third-floor hallway.

A victim advocate from the Summit County Prosecutor's Office, who had assisted Howell's family with impact statements in the courtroom, was caught in the middle of the melee before deputies and other court officials helped break it up.

The advocate hit her head on wall and went to an urgent care for treatment, according to James Pollack, a spokesperson for the prosecutor's office.

No charges were filed, but the fight remains under investigation by the Summit County Sheriff's Office.

"It is a priority of the Summit County Sheriff's Office to maintain a safe environment for courthouse staff and the public. We are constantly reviewing safety protocols to ensure everyone's safety. This is very important with the recent volume of highly volatile case," said Sheriff Kandy Fatheree.

Jackson was 17-years-old when he shot Howell 10 times on a bus at the Downtown Akron METRO RTA Transit Center on South Broadway in May of 2021.

The shocking crime, which was recorded by multiple cameras, was witnessed by several passengers who ran off the bus. Video shows one passenger stayed on board and tried to provide aid for Howell, who was a 21-year-old father of a young girl.

Prior to sentencing, several family members of the victim addressed Jackson, including his sister, Ashley Howell.

"There's nothing I can do to bring him, but I just want to let you know that you really hurt me," Howell said. "How would you feel if that was your mom? And you sit up here, it's like you have a smirk on your face. It's like you don't care."

Another sister, Dajia Parker, said she forgives Jackson, but also added that the day was not about justice because Howell is no longer here.

"I hope that you find God and ask for forgiveness," Parker said.

Jackson's attorneys said there was some of sort of altercation between the two before the shooting and that Jackson "withdrew from a fight" before Howell got onto the bus that Jackson had already boarded.

When given the opportunity to speak, Jackson apologized to Howell's family.

"I'm not saying it was justified for me shooting him, me taking his life, but I ain't go looking for trouble that day," Jackson said.

Jackson was given 15-years-to-life for murder and an additional three years in prison for a gun specification.

Before she handed down the sentence, Judge Croce stressed the deadly shooting was tragedy for both families and the community as a whole.

"Unless and until we start teaching our youth that gun violence is not acceptable, this will continue to happen," Croce said.

Akron Sgt. Rob Horvath, who was working METRO security on the day of the murder, chased the armed suspect for about a quarter-of-a-mile before telling him to get down on the ground and arrested him.

"Your adrenaline was rolling. You have natural fear because you just heard gunshots that were 30-feet away from you, so that is terrifying," Horvath said.

Horvath said lives were ruined over the senseless killing and he hopes lessons can be learned.

"I wish kids nowadays, and even adults, would just let it go. Don't argue with people, don't push the issue. Don't start fights because it doesn't end well."

RELATED: Teen pleads guilty to murder for Akron bus shooting

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