7-year-old case ends in life sentence

By EMILY WEAVER
Managing editor
Posted 6/21/22

A Sanford man was convicted of first-degree murder Friday in the shooting death of James Hallie Jefferson III.

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7-year-old case ends in life sentence

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A Sanford man was convicted of first-degree murder Friday in the shooting death of James Hallie Jefferson III. The conviction came seven years after Jefferson was gunned down in a Bunnlevel home by his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend.

“On the seventh anniversary of this crime, my prayers are with the family of Mr. Jefferson who have endured throughout this process,” said Harnett County District Attorney Suzanne Matthews, announcing the sentence. “My prayer is that they can now heal from the tragic loss of their loved one.”

It happened on the night of June 17, 2015 at 831 Darroch Road.

Jefferson was staying with his girlfriend when her ex, Jesus Calderon, then 28, entered her bedroom around 11:30 a.m., admitting he “did something” and needed a place to “lay low.” The girlfriend, whose name was redacted in old reports, told Harnett County deputies she informed Calderon he couldn’t stay at her house.

Jefferson asked him why he had a gun.

“Jesus then advised James that he had just did some s*** and needed to lay low,” Officer Michael Klingman noted in his report. “James told him that he needed to leave and that is when Jesus fired the first shot out of a revolver handgun, striking Jefferson in the back."

Jefferson was shot three times, according to the 2015 incident report. But he was alert and talking to deputies and medics at the scene as they prepared him for transport to the hospital.

Jefferson died in the emergency room at Cape Fear Valley Hospital. He was 53.

A jury convicted Calderon, now 35, of first-degree murder, felonious entry and possessing a firearm as a felon for the night Jefferson was killed. Calderon was moved to Central Prison in Raleigh where he will begin his consecutive sentences of life without parole for the murder, eight to 19 months for felonious entry and 14 to 26 months for possessing a firearm as a felon.

“I would like to thank the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office, for the work they put into the successful prosecution of this case,” Matthews said after the sentencing. “I would also like to thank the members of the jury for their service to the citizens of Harnett County. My office appreciates the individuals affected by the case, who were willing to come to court and testify to ensure that justice would be served.”

Assistant District Attorney Don Harrop prosecuted the case. Attorney Coy Brewer represented Calderon. Resident Superior Court Judge Winston Gilchrist presided over the trial.

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