In nearly two years since the fatal shooting of Chester “Junior” Morrison, Assistant District Attorney Laura Lukert said she listened to more than 100 hours of jail phone calls from James Elliott Blocksom.
One thread remained the same: A lack of remorse.
“I have heard him laugh about it. I have heard him say it’s his proudest moment. I’ve heard him say it’s the funniest s--- ever. I’ve heard him say he doesn’t regret it. … But I have never heard him say he is sorry for what he did to Junior,” Lukert said.
Blocksom, 25, of Canton was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years without the chance of parole for the February 2019 murder at the Gainesville Highway QuikTrip in Buford, according to court officials.
He entered a non-negotiated plea Monday, Feb. 1, to charges of malice murder, aggravated assault, terroristic acts, terroristic threats and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
Blocksom was accused of shooting Morrison, 36, of Commerce, Feb. 10, 2019, at the Buford gas station.
Superior Court Judge Clint Bearden sentenced Blocksom after the Monday hearing to life without parole on the malice murder charge.
Calling Blocksom’s actions “callous,” Bearden said he did not find any mitigating or extenuating circumstances, nor signs of remorse or desire for rehabilitation.
“Accordingly, the sentence of the court today reflects the severity of the crime, the most egregious and devastating crime, to take someone else’s life,” the judge said.
The hearing was held virtually with the prosecutors providing their evidence from the Hall County Courthouse before Bearden, while witnesses, defense attorney Brett Willis and Blocksom communicated from separate locations.
Lukert described the Commerce man, an auto mechanic commonly referred to as “Junior,” as a man who loved the outdoors, particularly fishing.
The prosecutor said Morrison was gunned down “brutally and horrifically” for sharing a meal at Waffle House with a friend.
“James Blocksom, the defendant, brutally murdered Junior by shooting him nine times all because he went to dinner with … the defendant’s ex-girlfriend,” Lukert said.
During her presentation of evidence, Lukert said Blocksom followed Morrison and the woman and tried to run them off the road.
A bystander video shows Blocksom shooting multiple times into the car in rapid succession.
Lukert said the images and videos “show the defendant’s level of rage” and his “level of malicious violence.”
Lukert played a recording of a call from Blocksom to the ex-girlfriend following the shooting.
“Why were you cheating on me with him?” Blocksom asked.
“We were not together,” the woman replied.
Lukert said Blocksom went on to threaten the woman and her family, as he blamed her for Morrison’s death because she “stepped out on (their) non-existent relationship.”
Investigators and the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team arrested Blocksom at his home in Cherokee County, according to the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.
Morrison’s family appeared via a teleconferencing application to give an impact statement. His sister described Morrison as a loving and selfless person who “always gave the best hugs.”
Willis declined to comment following the hearing.
“Judge Bearden’s sentence was just and appropriate for this most heinous murder,” Northeastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Lee Darragh said in a statement.