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Former Football Player Sentenced in 2013 Santa Monica Murder  

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By Lookout Staff

March 10, 2017 -- Former football player Janzen Jackson was sentenced Thursday for the September 2013 strangling death of his mother's boyfriend inside a Santa Monica Apartment.

Jackson, 26, who was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, received the maximum 11-year prison sentence for killing Frank Herrera, 43, whose body was found in a vehicle in South Los Angeles three days later.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Bernie La Forteza called the strangulation of Herrera "a very heinous act," according to a City News Service report.

“The defendant brutally killed Mr. Herrera using three separate ligatures,” La Fortezza said. “Here the defendant committed a very heinous act in killing the victim through strangulation.”

Prosecutors wanted Jackson charged with second-degree murder, but the defendant was acquitted of the more serious charge by a jury.

“This was, in the People’s opinion, not a voluntary manslaughter, although that’s what he was ultimately (found) guilty of,” Deputy District Attorney Richard Quinones told the judge, according to the City News Service report.

The prosecution felt that the “only appropriate sentence” for Jackson was the maximum 11-year sentence, Quinones said.

Jackson said he acted in self defense. “I was in a fight for my life,” he told the judge.

Jackson's mother, Tesra Jackson, called the incident a “terrible, unfortunate tragedy that took place.”

Deputy Public Defender Daryne Nicole, who said the killing was the result of "actions Mr. Herrera put in motion," sought probation for her client, who she noted had been declared mentally incompetent to stand trial.

Jackson was a defensive back for the University of Tennesse before being released in 2011 for unspecified reasons, according to an August 2011 report in the Knoxville News Sentinel.

He enrolled at McNeese State University and was signed by the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent. He was waived by the team and briefly played for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League.

Nicole said Jackson has the “brain of a 22-year-old football player who’s been knocked around since he was five years old.”

Herrera's mother told the judge she was condemned to a life remembering “what he (Jackson) did to my son,” according to the City News Service report.

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