PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) – The mother of 12-year-old Naomi Jones is relieved to learn her daughter’s killer is going to prison.
“The weight that’s been on my shoulders for these past four years, my shoulders got lighter because of just hearing the words guilty,” Shantara Hurry said.
Hurry has been waiting for this day. She knows nothing will bring her daughter Naomi Jones back but she’s relieved to learn the jury found Robert Howard guilty.
“He has to live with what he did to her every day of his life as nonchalant as he wants to look, I know deep down inside he’s shaking in his boots,” Hurry said.
This week she’s had to relive the agony she felt starting May 31, 2017, when Naomi disappeared from their apartment.
“That day was the hardest day of my life,” she said. “The next day was even worse. The next day was even worse.”
Five days after her disappearance, Naomi’s body was found in Eight Mile Creek. Hurry said it felt like her heart was ripped apart.
“You feel so empty,” she said. “You feel so broken.”
She is remembering the good times with Naomi, her goofy laugh, and bright smile.
“We miss her jokes,” she said. “She played pranks all the time on everybody. Oh my goodness..we miss the dancing. The off-tune singing.”
After three days of testimony ending in a conviction, she thanks the State Attorney’s Office and the thousands of people who’ve shown support over the years.
“They are amazing and I want to tell them thank you,” she said. “If I don’t have anything left in my heart, it’s gratitude.”
Howard will spend his life in prison with no possibility of parole.