Defendant Jesse Slade, 24, was sentenced Friday after pleading guilty to first-degree murder and aggravated robbery before Criminal Court Judge Lee Coffee. Slade’s capital murder trial was scheduled for January.
Investigators said that on Feb. 16, 2017, Slade entered Golden Jewelers in the 6500 block of Winchester in Hickory Hill armed with a handgun and with a bandana over his face. Store surveillance showed Slade taking jewelry from the display case and cash from the register while store manager Noah Ashene, 42, held his 20-month-old son after being ordered to kneel down behind by the counter.
Slade, a mechanic who had worked on the victim’s vehicle several times, then stabbed Ashene 15 times times in the neck and back because, he said, he feared Ashene might have recognized him or his voice. Store video showed Ashene shielding his son with his body to protect him from the attack.
Investigators soon developed Slade as a suspect and arrested him four days later with several pieces of jewelry taken in the holdup. Slade was facing a possible death penalty because of aggravating factors that included murder in the perpetration of a robbery, murder to avoid arrest and prosecution, and murder involving circumstances that were heinous, atrocious and cruel.
The case was handled by Chief Prosecutor Alanda Dwyer of the District Attorney’s Special Prosecution Unit in Criminal Court Division 7 which seeks maximum sentencing for repeat felony offenders.