Mother of murdered Columbus teen upset with DA over plea deal for daughter’s alleged killer

Crime

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Following the announcement on Tuesday, May 24, 2021 of an accepted plea deal for Markel Ervin, who was arrested and charged with the 2018 murder of 18-year-old Destinee Virgin, the victim’s mother is speaking out on what she is calling a “slap in the face” to her daughter’s case.

(Markel Ervin)

Destinee’s mother, Mechelle Virgin, said she was never informed of a potential plea deal for her daughter’s alleged murderer until it was announced in court. She said that she had also previously told District Attorney Mark Jones that she was concerned about a plea deal that involved the opportunity for Ervin to be paroled.

“The plea deal. My first time hearing about it was in court. Me and Mark Jones talked about two months ago, and the last time we talked I told him that I was afraid of one: number one, a plea deal and number two: because he was so young, I didn’t want him getting out in 20 or 30 years and him not serving his full sentence because he was so young,” said Virgin. “So that was a major concern for me. When I heard that they have already went pretty much behind my back, that’s what I feel like, you went and talked to his attorney and y’all have already made a decision of a plea deal and what it was going to be and you didn’t discuss it with me or my mom and dad or my family I feel like that’s pretty much another slap in the face to Destinee.”

WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH MECHELLE VIRGIN HERE:

When News 3 reached out to District Attorney Mark Jones, he said he thinks this is a good deal and he believes Mechelle Virgin was made aware of the plea deal offer.

“I would have loved to try the case, but the defendant ultimately decided he wanted to take responsibility and accept a plea deal and that’s what happened,” said DA Mark Jones. “But my understanding though is that the Ms. Virgin—Ms. Mechelle Virgin—the mother who’s apparently upset, as I mentioned she obviously wanted more. My understanding is that she knew there was a plea offer. She just didn’t know it was accepted until yesterday.”

THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH DISTRICT ATTORNEY MARK JONES HERE:

Jones said he believes Virgin is upset because she wanted a harsher punishment for her daughter’s alleged killer.

Virgin, however, said she never was told about a plea deal. She said she was only told about a guilty plea, with no mention of a plea deal in general or one involving the potential for parole.

“I have waited two and a half years for my daughter to get justice, for you just to tell me that you’re going to set the plea deal without talking to her mother first, and I think that’s very unprofessional,” said Virgin. “I think that is morally wrong, regardless. You know I know that he’s not god, he’s just a district attorney. He can’t promise me anything, but you did not say nothing that you was going to take a deal with this man, that you were going to give him life with a possibility of parole. This is my child, not Mark Jones child and I have a problem with that.”

The hearing for the plea deal is set for the morning of May 25. Family members of the victim will be allowed to speak on the potential deal, which Virgin said she will absolutely be doing when given the opportunity.

District Attorney Mark Jones said he thinks this deal is beneficial because it keeps Ervin off the streets for a set number of years, and when he is eligible for parole he could very well be rejected. He also stated Ervin’s previous charges—one for the kidnapping of Destinee Virgin—could work against him when he is up for parole after his life sentence.

Previous coverage of the Destinee Virgin case:

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