Original article no longer available
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
By DERRICK MAHONE
Thursday, November 13, 2008
A 31-year-old Kennesaw man who stabbed his ex-girlfriend in the heart with a sword in a Cobb County restaurant two years ago was found guilty of murder Thursday.
Eliot Jeffers confronted Jocilyn Williams inside a Moe’s Southwest Grill on Powers Ferry Road Oct. 30, 2006, stabbing her twice with a 3-foot-long sword.
Daniel Stringfellow, a manager at the restaurant and a friend of Williams, was stabbed as he wrestled Jeffers to the ground. Williams was visiting Stringfellow at the time of the attack.
Jurors watched a gruesome videotape of the murder, captured on the restaurant’s security cameras.
“I’ve seen some things that I shouldn’t have seen in my lifetime, so watching that videotape in the courtroom wasn’t that hard,” said Stringfellow, who had surgery and 34 stitches to repair his arm after the attack. “I’m very happy with the verdict. Physically, I’m doing good; but mentally, I’m still holding on.”
Jeffers faces a mandatory life sentence for the murder conviction and up to 50 years for five additional crimes associated with the attack. Judge Robert Flournoy set sentencing for Dec. 19.
Jurors didn’t buy the insanity defense put forth by his lawyers. Jeffers was deemed competent to stand trial though he had previously been diagnosed with severe depression. At the time of the murder, his attorney argued, he was not taking his prescribed medication.
“We are disappointed that they didn’t account for the fact he suffers mentally,” attorney T. Bryan Lumpkin said.
The jury deliberated about three hours before returning a verdict in the nine-day trial.
Prosecutors presented more than 100 pieces of evidence including the sword, the videotape and the dress Williams was wearing the afternoon of the murder. Several people who were at the restaurant at the time also testified.
“We presented the dress because the knife went through to the back of her dress,” Assistant District Attorney Ann Harris said. “He cut through her heart. It was a very brutal crime that took the life of a lovely, kind and sweet woman. The jury saw through the defense. It has been a long week, but there was justice today.”