Man sentenced to 15 years in cab driver's murder
September 20, 2006 (WLS) -- A former high ranking employee in the Chicago health department who killed a Chicago cab driver learned his punishment Wednesday, 15 years in prison.
With good behavior, 38-year-old Michael Jackson could be released in seven to eight years. Jackson ran over a cab driver with his own car in the Lakeview neighborhood on the city's North Side.
For running over cab driver Haroon Paryani three times, Michael Jackson initially was facing a charge of first-degree murder and possibly life behind bars. But, last month, a jury convicted him of second-degree murder instead. Prosecutors were asking for the maximum sentence of 20 years -- and say they are pleased they came very close to getting that.
"The people are extremely happy with the judge's sentence," said Mercedes Luque-Rosales, assistant state's attorney.
Prosecutors are satisfied Jackson received nearly the maximum sentence they had asked for-- 20 years. It was an emotional sentencing hearing for Michael Jackson, the former Chicago city employee who ran over and killed cab driver Haroon Paryani with his own cab in a fight over fare in February of 2005.
Wednesday, Paryani's deaf son, Amir, broke down on the witness stand while reading his family's impact letter in sign language, telling the judge: "What we want to know is how can Michael Jackson live with himself after committing such a heinous crime? Why did he do that?"
But there would be no answers to those questions. Jackson told the judge: "I'm a Christian and I mourn for the loss of another soul. But I would never ever intentionally physically harm someone."
Afterwards, Paryani's daughter said she was disappointed Jackson didn't apologize.
"At least he could have said I'm sorry for doing what he did, but he didn't. That just shows what a horrific person he is," said Keeran Paryani, victim's daughter.
Susan McNamara also testified. She is a registered nurse who treated Jackson after he attempted suicide. She says Jackson, who is HIV-positive, spit on her and said he hopes she got AIDS.
Prosecutors also called up Froilen Garcia, a fellow inmate, who at first couldn't identify Jackson in the courtroom. Then he told the judge of a sexual encounter he had with Jackson in jail -- but the defendant never said he was HIV positive.
Judge James Schreir called the case shocking and that Jackson was completely consumed by rage.
Jackson's partner and friends cried as the 15-year sentence was handed down.
"Mike Jackson continues to maintain his innocence and will file an appeal," said Mayer Becker, friend of Jackson.
Jackson's defense says his appeal will be based on evidence that was not allowed in the trial, evidence they say of another attack Paryani allegedly made on a passenger in his cab 16 years ago. Michael Jackson has already served more than a year in prison, and with credit for good behavior, he could be released in as little as 5 1/2 years.
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