Newport News judge sentences two post office carriers to 39 years in slaying

A Newport News judge on Friday called two former U.S. Postal Service carriers “equally culpable” in the slaying of another carrier’s husband last year, sentencing them each to 39 years behind bars.

Circuit Court Judge Gary Mills ordered identical sentences for Tashara Jackson and Jeremy Pettway in the April 2021 killing of Salahud-Din “Sal” Shabazz at his home. Juries found them guilty in March and April, respectively, in the first-degree murder conspiracy case.

“There is zero doubt as to either of your guilt — absolutely none,” Mills said, calling the case “the strongest circumstantial case” he’s seen in 19 years as a judge.

Shabazz, a father of five, played football in high school and junior college, served four years in the Army and was working as a warehouse forklift operator when he was killed.

According to trial evidence, the slaying stemmed from a long-running feud Jackson had with Shabazz’s wife, mail carrier Jacqueline “Jacquie” Shabazz. There were several workplace issues between the women, with Jacquie Shabazz acknowledging at trial that she had been having an extramarital relationship with a carrier whose wife was close friends with Jackson.


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