Judge sentences Gauna to life in prison - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Nick Kenney

Judge sentences Gauna to life in prison

Thursday, a judge in Tipton County sentenced Alejandro Gauna, convicted of first degree murder in the death of Tennessee State Trooper Calvin Jenks, to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

According to sentencing guidelines, with the jury hung, the judge had no choice.  Gauna must serve at least 51 years in prison for the crime.

"I'm disappointed," said Norm Jenks, father of Trooper Calvin Jenks.  "He is going to be a very aged individual by the time he is released. I guess that's the only solace the family can have at this time. We're just going to have to accept it."

While Jenks' family wanted a guarantee he'd be behind bars forever, defense attorney Blake Ballin said the sentence was fair.

"We're happy with the outcome," Ballin said.

An outcome perhaps swayed by Alejandro Gauna himself.  In an attempt to persuade the jury, he raised his right hand, took the stand, and offered testimony that drew tears from his family.

"I'm sorry it happened," Gauna told jurors.  "I never meant for any of this to happen, or turn out the way it did."

The Jenks family didn't buy the testimony.

"I don't believe a word he said," said Jane Whitaker, Calvin Jenks' mother. "He fought it all the way. If he's really sorry, he would've pleaded guilty, and nobody would've had to go through this."

Ballin said Gauna would appeal the guilty verdict, and expected to be back in court in early June.

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