ATLANTA -- Before being sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison for his role in the cocaine ring that likely led to his teenage son's murder, Nick Jackson asked for leniency because his absence would mean "no father figure" in the lives of his four other children.
United States District Judge Charles Pannell Jr. sentenced Jackson to 97 months in prison during a brief hearing Thursday in Atlanta. The Norcross man, who pleaded guilty to one count of distributing cocaine on Feb. 1, will also serve five years of supervised release following his prison term. Out on bond since October, Jackson will be allowed to begin serving his time on Aug. 1.
"I'm not breaking anymore laws," Jackson said in court Thursday, adding that his mother is sick.
"I'm just ready to get in and get back out," he said.
The official sentence came down 477 days after 15-year-old Nick Jackson II was shot and killed inside the family's home just off the downtown Norcross square.
A skilled athlete and honor student, the younger Jackson was reportedly shot through a basement door while trying to prevent a robbing crew from entering the home. The seven-man crew was allegedly drawn there by rumors of $1 million and 50 kilograms of cocaine inside the house -- rumors fueled by Jackson's illegal drug dealings with ties to Mexico.
Federal agents began investigating the actions of Jackson and his eight co-defendants in Jan. 2011, and continued to do so for about 18 months. The probe ended last July when calls were intercepted from a Mexican broker to an Atlanta-area dealer, who reportedly set aside a few of the 25 kilograms of cocaine for Jackson, his "best customer."
Another defendant, Darren Dunlap, picked up five kilos of cocaine under the surveillance of federal agents and was later arrested following a traffic stop, officials said at previous hearings. Authorities had wiretaps on the subsequent phone calls between Jackson and the other dealer, she said.
Assistant United States Attorney Skye Davis said Thursday that Jackson rarely handled or sold any drugs himself.
That bust was months after Nick Jackson II was murdered. His father on Thursday told a judge that he had "recently lost one son" and his going away would mean there would be "no father figure" in the lives of his other four children.
"I've learned my lesson," Jackson said.
Two of Jackson's co-defendants -- Aly Lozano and David Gomez -- were also sentenced Thursday, to 108 and 78 months in prison, respectively. The others are scheduled for sentencing on various dates in June and July.