GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The family of murder victim Katrina Sargent said she can finally rest in peace and the family can finally move forward with their lives. A jury on Thursday found Twonia Williams guilty of murder for shooting and killing Sargent back in 2009. The verdict means Williams will spend the rest of her life in prison.
It took four years and two murder trials to get justice for Katrina Sargent. Her family members said knowing someone will pay for this crime brings them great comfort. After leaving the courthouse, her family placed flowers in the spot where Sargent's life ended.
In December 2009, Sargent was gunned down in her front yard by her boyfriend's ex girlfriend, Twonia Williams. Williams was convicted of murder in 2012. But when the Mississippi Supreme Court ordered a retrial, Sargent's family worried about the outcome.
"We were all pretty nervous, but we all prayed together," said Tashunda McCall, Sargent's sister. "We stuck it out and we were ready for whatever because we know that man has their say so, but God has the last say so."
Justice was served on Thursday when a jury came back with a guilty verdict on the murder charge. The defense had pushed for manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
After getting the news, the family gathered in the yard where Sargent was murdered to pray and thank God.
Sargent's sister Debra Haynes said, "I'm just glad that the verdict was read the same. Now my sister can rest in peace, and we can go on with our life."
"I'm so glad the day is over," said Minnie McCall, Sargent's mother. "Maybe me and my kids and grandkids can go ahead on. Let it be a closure to us. We'll never forget. I won't. But I just want us to go forward."
Sargent's relatives say their family has been forever changed. Together they are raising the three children she left behind and they say this terrible ordeal has brought them closer as a family.
"We were already a pretty big close family," said Tashunda McCall. "But having to go through all this let us know we're all strong in our each individual way. We held each other up. We were all here to make sure no one got down."
Tashunda McCall said of her sister, "She was such a nice person and I have her oldest son. So now I can go home and let him know, 'Baby, it's over with.' I'm so peaceful. I'm so happy that she got justice finally."
Twonia Williams admitted to killing an unarmed Katrina Sargent, but William's lawyers tried to argue she acted in the heat of passion. However, prosecutors said Williams made the decision to go to Sargent's home with a loaded gun, get out of the car with it, cock it and pull the trigger. Sargent was shot one time to the face. She left behind three young children.
Katrina Sargent's family members say they are especially grateful for the hard work of the District Attorney's office. Assistant District Attorney Crosby Parker prosecuted the first trial and the second trial. He said when the Mississippi State Supreme Court threw out the first conviction, he was determined to push on until justice was served.
"Obviously, when we found out we were going to retry this case, I wouldn't say pressure, but we wanted to make sure that the victim's family knew that we were going to retry it," said Parker. "We were also going to hope for a murder vote. What happened was tragic and Katrina Sargent was murdered and we were going to prosecute it as such."
Prosecutors said they appreciate the witnesses who came back and testified a second time.