Man Charged In 3 Chattanooga Murders Lamented 1, Tells Why Other 2 Were Carried Out

  • Friday, February 23, 2024

When Courtney High pleaded guilty earlier this week to three Chattanooga murders in 2016 he lamented one of the killings and said gang higher ups ordered the other two.

High, who was 25 at the time of the slayings and is now 33, got life sentences giving him the possibility of parole, but only after serving 51 years at 100 percent.

Prosecutors were ready to try him on all three cases, including one set to start on Monday. He faced the death penalty in one case.

High was tearful on the witness stand in the courtroom of Judge Boyd Patterson when he said victim Bianca Horton was not a member of any gang

He said, "She was killed for nothing. It was weak and cowardly."

High claimed he tried to persuade gang leaders not to kill Ms. Horton, who was set to testify against a young member of the Athens Park Bloods - the gang in which High was a leader. Her child had been seriously wounded in a gang shooting.

High claimed he had no choice but to train gang members in carrying out the Horton slaying. Prosecutors said she was snatched up at her apartment complex parking lot and placed in a waiting white van.

Her body was later found in a ditch by Elder Street. She had been shot six times, including once in the head. There was blunt force injury to the face.

A prosecutor said one witness had stated that when Ms. Horton was being killed that High had tears in his eyes. He said he did not participate in shooting or hitting her.

Asked why he killed Jerrica Jackson, a cousin he had known from childhood, he said she had begun cooperating with the rival Bounty Hunter gang. He said she had agreed to lure several Athens Park Bloods into a trap where they would be killed, but he said other females had tipped off his gang.

High said Marquise Jackson was killed in a gang retaliation, saying his gang was advised that Jackson was one of those who knocked on the door of Athens Park Blood members and killed them.

A High family member said the killing of Ms. Jackson "tore up my heart." She said High and Jerrica had been raised together for a time and "were like brother and sister." The witness said, "She loved you. There were people who were trying to help you, but nobody could reach you."

She said his explanation of the gang killings was "foolish and inane."

Prosecutors said on May 25, 2016, Ms. Horton was grabbed by one man, who was assisted by another who came out from behind a tree. The vehicle she was placed in was linked to Charles Shelton, who had also faced the death prison. He died while at the Silverdale Jail.

Prosecutors said they had jail calls in which High told about the Horton slaying.

Jerrica Jackson was found dead inside a white SUV on Trailway Drive on June 12, 2016. She had been shot four times at very close range. A neighbor saw a black male with long dreads at the location earlier and at the time of the shooting. The individual was driving a gold Impala.

Prosecutors said they learned that High had been at the house where the murder happened that day. A female said she had called Jerrica Jackson over to the house at High's behest. She said he hid in bushes until coming by and shooting her as she rested in the SUV.

It was Aug. 7, 2016, when there was a knock at the door at 66 Water St. that was answered by Marquise Jackson. He was said to have been shot by a black male with long dreads. Prosecutors were told that a female went up to the door with High and she was due to be the shooter, but her gun jammed. High then fired multiple shots at the rival gang member, it was stated.

Attorneys said High is requesting that he be able to serve his sentence in another state. For the time being, he was returned to the Riverbend Prison in Nashville.

High said he is a Muslim and is no longer actively involved with gangs. He said he is forming a non-profit organization to work in Chattanooga and other cities.

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