BEAUFORT, SC (WCSC/AP) - Prosecutors in Beaufort County say they hope a 45 year sentence for a man convicted in a brutal murder will help to bring some closure to the victim's family.
"I'm very pleased with the verdict and hope it brings some measure of closure to the family," said deputy Sean Thornton, who prosecuted the case against 34-year-old Kelvin Jackson who was sentenced to 45 years in prison after being found guilty of the 2011 murder of 34-year-old Masako Yamaguchi Miller.
"Mr. Jackson is a very dangerous person who deserves every day of the sentence the judge gave him," Thornton said.
Prosecutors said a Beaufort County jury deliberated about two hours Friday before finding Jackson guilty of murder.
Authorities say Jackson strangled Miller and smothered her in a pillow while their children slept in nearby rooms in May 2011. Her body was found by fishermen in a mud flat near the Broad River, several days after she was reported missing.
DNA evidence collected from Miller's home connected Jackson to the murder. A pillow believed to have used to smother Miller also contained Jackson's DNA, according to prosecutors.
According to the solicitor's office, in the days leading up to her death, Miller appeared to be distancing herself from Jackson, with whom she had two children and a volatile, abusive relationship. Solicitors say Miller removed Jackson from her car insurance policy and closed a joint account the two had held.
Investigators say after Miller's death, Jackson used one of her credit cards. Court documents state Jackson provided statements to investigators that were untruthful.
A note left for Miller's children stating she was on a trip and would be back soon was determined by a handwriting specialist to not have been written by Miller and was a probable match to Jackson's handwriting, according to prosecutors.