Mother of murdered Columbia teen speaks after suspect found not guilty

Published: Sep. 4, 2017 at 8:55 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 4, 2017 at 9:30 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Pamela Dinkins never thought March 15, 2015, would be the last time she would ever hear her son's voice.

"I love you, mom. I'll be back," were the last words she would hear from her son, Eric Washington. That was just hours before he went to play basketball at T.S Martin Park in Columbia. Dinkins was working in Florence at the time.

Everyone remembers Washington as a CA Johnson High School student who had plans to join the US Army.

"He was 17. He was getting ready to graduate high school. He was already in an army national guard and would have went to Fort Jackson. I didn't get to see him graduate high school," Dinkins said with tears streaming down her face.

Washington's life was cut short by a bullet that March evening. Investigators with the Columbia Police Department said Washington was playing basketball when he was killed. It's believed a previous argument rolled over from earlier that day and police said more than one person fired shots.

Jeremiah Pough and Jahmir Taylor, both 19 years old, were arrested and charged with his murder shortly after. They both were in jail awaiting trial for his murder until things changed last week.

Related: Community remembers teenage murder victim killed at Columbia park

In a tense courtroom setting, a day Dinkins had been waiting for since her son was killed, the person accused of killing Washington was found not guilty. After deliberating for 2 hours, the jury returned the verdict of not guilty for Pough. However, he was found guilty on a charge of possession of a firearm during a violent crime.

"So that makes you wonder did they even look at the case?" asked Dinkins.

Dinkins broke her silence over the weekend speaking exclusively to WIS since the trial ended last week.

Related: Despite being the site of a murder, T.S. Martin's daughter looks to make changes to park

"It made me numb," she said with tears falling. Dinkins sat in a courtroom for more than a week while prosecutors and defense argued their case. But the emotional rollercoaster isn't over just yet.

"I hope that he takes this as a learning experience and moves forward. Maybe God gave him another chance at life. He will come forward and say let me give you the details to help me prosecute the next person in line," said Dinkins.

Washington's mother blames the jury and says it's likely that Pough won't serve any time at all.

"He is just going to be let go. Back into society," Dinkins said. "If the jury would have took the time to acknowledge the case."

Dinkins said the prosecutor told her on Friday that they filed a motion to d rop the conviction on the gun charge for Pough.

It's believed that he may get credit for the time he already served.

Taylor is still awaiting trial.

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