Crime

She told him it was over and walked away. Then he pulled out a gun, affidavit says.

Gulfport Police canvass an area behind Memorial Physicians Clinic in Acadian Plaza on US 49 on Aug. 7 after Sierra Jefferson, an employee, was shot outside the building. Evidence markers dot the grass behind the office.
Gulfport Police canvass an area behind Memorial Physicians Clinic in Acadian Plaza on US 49 on Aug. 7 after Sierra Jefferson, an employee, was shot outside the building. Evidence markers dot the grass behind the office. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com File

A man facing a first-degree murder charge went to his wife’s workplace because he didn’t want their relationship to end, a police affidavit says.

Jerome Verdell Jefferson Sr., 47, is accused of shooting his wife near the back of her head Aug. 7 during an argument behind Memorial Physician’s Clinic in Gulfport’s Orange Grove community. The 42-year-old mother of three children died three days later.

She was a medical assistant at the clinic in Acadian Plaza off U.S. 49, and also worked at Ulta Beauty. She was the mother of children ages 25, 8 and 4.

Her husband faces a charge of first-degree murder, which carries only one penalty: life in prison.

Sierra Jefferson and her children had moved out of their Gulfport home a week earlier with police assistance after Jerome Jefferson went into a rage, their eldest son told the Sun Herald.

Jefferson Sr. has battled illegal drug problems for years, and had been using crack cocaine and spice, said their son, Jerome “Rome” Jefferson Jr.

Jefferson Sr. had called his wife several times before the shooting, a police investigator wrote. He drove to his wife’s workplace and she went outside a back entrance to talk to him.

According to the affidavit, Jefferson told investigators his wife told him their relationship was over. He claimed his wife pushed him as she turned to walk away. Jefferson said he grabbed a revolver from his pants and accidentally fired one shot. He said he then pointed the gun at his wife and fired a second time.

Sierra Jefferson was shot near the back of her head as she tried to get back in the medical clinic. She was shot with a .38-caliber revolver, which police said was turned in as evidence. She was taken to the University of South Alabama Medical Center in Mobile.

Jerome Jefferson drove himself to the Harrison County jail and turned himself in. Police first arrested him on an attempted murder charge. Investigators upgraded the charge to first-degree murder after his wife’s death Aug. 10.

He is held on a $1 million bond. A preliminary hearing was pending Wednesday.

Sierra Jefferson’s friends and co-workers have described her as always smiling and kind, and a hard worker who tried to support her family the best she could.

Rome Jefferson has said he will remember his mother the most for her unconditional love.

“I just hate it that my little brother and sister won’t get the time to know her like I did,” he said.

The other siblings, Rico, 8, and Alizabeth, 4, are now in the custody of a relative.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

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