MARTINEZ -- A Vallejo woman was sentenced Friday to life in prison without possibility of parole for the ambush murder of a 31-year-old Pittsburg man who family members said had devoted his life to providing for his and the woman's 3-year-old son.
At an emotionally charged sentencing hearing, the family of Andrew Le'Mar Green confronted 37-year-old Jennell Wright -- at some points with hostility -- for killing Green outside his home on Feb. 23, 2010.
"If you asked me two years ago, I would be spitting venom like them," Green's mother, Lucinda Jackson, said of her family. "But I'm not angry anymore; I can't be. I'm raising their child and I want him to take my example for the future."
Green, 31, had just gotten home from his job as a County Connection bus mechanic when Wright -- who had been waiting in a dark corner of the parking lot of his apartment complex in Pittsburg -- ran up and shot him three times as he sat in his car.
Her defense at two trials -- the first ended in a hung jury -- was that she didn't plan to kill Green. Wright claimed she was in a suicidal and disoriented state when she killed him, but she had only intended to scare him with the gun in revenge for calling her a bad mother.
But the second trial jury sided with prosecutor Lynn Uilkema, who contended the attack was premeditated and convicted Wright in February of first-degree murder by lying in wait. That is punishable by a mandatory life sentence.
Green's family was well aware, before the killing, that Wright was harassing and stalking him, bitter that he was in love and planning to marry his fiancee, Natasha Griffith.
They were happy, Griffith said, and had a plan to raise Savion, Green's son with Wright, themselves. On the day of his death, Green told his mother he was going to hire a lawyer. Wright's erratic behavior had him scared she was going to kill Savion.
Green had always shown Wright such kindness, they said. Once, after she married another man, her car broke down on the freeway before dawn; Green picked her up and emptied his bank account to pay to get the vehicle towed and fixed. It was right around Christmas, and the payments made him unable to buy presents for his son.
"He was an outstanding man. He loved you, Jennell. It's too bad you never really loved him, because if you did, we wouldn't be here," Griffith said.
Several people said the killing was especially shocking because Wright had not only Savion, but another son, now 14.
"Why would you give up your whole life? You gave up your life and you gave up your children," said Green's aunt, Linda Washington. "The baby (Savion) cries in his sleep. He asks for his mother."
"He doesn't have a mother," someone in the audience yelled.
Wright and her family declined to speak at the sentencing. At the hearing's close, she dabbed tears from her face and turned to her mother to mouth, "I love you."
That's when one of Green's relatives shouted "Bye" at Wright. She shouted back at the victim's father; just as the insults were escalating, bailiffs ushered the stragglers out and shut the courtroom doors.
Contact Malaika Fraley at 925-234-1684. Follow her at Twitter.com/malaikafraley.