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WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) — It did not take long for a Columbus County jury to come to a verdict in a 2011 murder case.

Jurors took about half an hour to find Elijah Jones guilty of first degree murder for the shooting death of his estranged wife.

Jurors sentenced Jones to life in prison without parole. It was a decision they say was hard to make.

The family of victim Joan Everette says justice has been served. The family says Jones and Everette had domestic issues for years leading up to the shooting outside a Whiteville hospital.

Everette’s brother says it feels like a burden has been lifted off their shoulders.

“We know that a convicted murderer that murdered our sister, a mother, a grandmother, an aunt, a cousin, a community friend, he’s been held responsible for that today, and he’s going to spend the rest of his life in prison,” Jeffrey Everette said. “So we feel good today.”

After the verdict the Everettes released purple balloons in celebration. They say the color symbolizes domestic violence.

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