By The Associated Press
JACKSON — The mother of the man accused in the death of a Jackson State University student says her son was trying to protect him from bullying.
Jarrod Emerson, 25, was charged Wednesday with the murder of Nolan Ryan Henderson III, 19, of Atlanta. The shooting took place at a pool party. Police say a ballistics test has linked the bullet that killed Henderson to Emerson’s gun.
“Bullying started all of this,” Juarez Emerson told the Clarion-Ledger on Friday after her son’s initial appearance in city court. “If it shows that the bullet came from Jarrod’s weapon, God knows, it was an accident.”
Juarez Emerson, a registered nurse from Jackson, said her son told her he fired a weapon in the air in an attempt to keep football players from bullying Henderson.
Police have said Emerson returned to a party with Henderson to avenge the younger man being beaten up twice by a group of JSU football players.
Juarez Emerson said her son promised Henderson’s family that he would look out for the teen while he was in Jackson to attend college.
Though Jarrod Emerson has been described as Henderson’s cousin, he is not a blood relative but the two families are very close, the newspaper said.
Other than misdemeanor charges and traffic violations, Jarrod Emerson had not faced a serious criminal charge before the shooting, according to his mother.
Jail records show he was charged in March 2008 with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and contempt of court, in October with failure to pay old fines, and in June 2009 with a traffic violation.
A funeral for Henderson was held Saturday.