GRAND BLANC (WJRT) (7/9/2019) - Family and friends of Grand Blanc murder victims Tamara Johnson and Lyric Work are relieved that the woman who shot the, 57-year-old Jacquelyne Tyson, was found guilty Tuesday.
Jacquelyne Tyson was found guilty but mentally ill for the July 2016 murders of Tamara Johnson and Lyric Work in the leasing office at Grand Oaks Apartments in Grand Blanc.
Judge Joseph Farah announced his verdict after a lengthy bench trial, which did not include a jury, that was delayed years while the court evaluated Tyson's mental status.
Tyson gunned down both Johnson and Work, who was 33 weeks pregnant at the time, while they worked in the leasing office at Grand Oaks Apartments on Reid Road in July 2016. Tyson was a tenant at the complex.
Farah found Tyson guilty but mentally ill for first-degree murder of Work and second-degree murder of Johnson. Work's daughter survived after being delivered with an emergency C-section and was in court Tuesday.
"Three years almost," said Alexis Randt, who was a good friend of Work. "(Tyson) knew what she was doing and she deserved her sentence. Guilty. Not insane, she's going to go away for the rest of her life and hopefully she dies there."
Tyson's attorney sought mental competency testing for her, describing her as paranoid and unable to assist with her defense. Farah could have found Tyson not guilty by reason of insanity, but chose the guilty but mentally ill verdict.
Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said Tyson still faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison with no change of parole with the guilty but mentally ill verdict under Michigan law.
She will receive further mental evaluations and psychiatric treatment while in prison, but the mentally ill portion of the verdict will not change her sentence.
A verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity may have allowed Tyson to leave custody someday, but Farah did not choose that.
“Despite the state’s own forensic evaluation opinion that Tyson was insane, I felt it was imperative that we stand up for the victims in this case and hire an independent expert to examine and evaluate the defendant,” said Leyton.
He said the forensic expert agreed that Tyson has mental health issues, but she was not legally insane when the murders took place.
“That expert’s opinion was critical to our ability to prosecute this case to the end and to see justice through for the victims and their surviving families,” Leyton said.