Judge gives Faulk maximum sentence in Mason City shooting death

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(ABC 6 News) – 25-year-old Jelani Faulk has been sentenced to 45 years in prison in the 2021 Mason City killing of Christopher Tucker.

He was originally facing a first-degree murder charge, but Faulk took a plea deal pleading guilty to three lesser charges including voluntary manslaughter as a habitual offender, interference with official acts while displaying a firearm as a habitual offender, and possession of a firearm as a felon.

The judge gave Faulk the maximum sentence, which is 15 years for each charge. Faulk is accused of shooting 35-year-old Christopher Tucker outside a Mason City bar in October 2021.

In court Tuesday, he said he wished things went differently that night.

Tucker’s family got the chance to speak out at the sentencing. They said Tucker was a fun and loving person who worked hard and took pride in everything he did.

“There is no amount of time that would make grieving any easier on my family. We all have choices in life, and this person decided to carry out an action that cause us a lifetime of pain. Even with the sentencing it does not make me or my family feel any better, but we would agree to the max possible sentence that is allowed to be served,” said Courtney Wenworth, a victim advocate on behalf of Tucker’s family.

The family says they wanted justice and fair sentencing on behalf of Tucker.

The court expressed its sympathy.

“In a short period of time, lives can be changed forever or lost as in this case. I think the agreement is appropriate given those charges,” said Chief Judge James Drew.

The judge also ordered Faulk to pay $150,000 in restitution to the victim’s mother, and almost $2,000 to a crime victim compensation program. Cerro Gordo County Attorney Carlyle Dalen says he is satisfied with the outcome.

“I think they are very satisfied with the outcome. Obviously, they miss their loved one and it’s been very hard on the family, but I think that overall we felt that this was a fair resolution of the 45 years,” Dalen said.

Mason City Police Chief Jeff Brinkley responded to the sentencing in a statement below.

“I am grateful that Judge Drew sentenced Jelani Faulk to the maximum sentence possible on these charges. Mr. Faulk was a federal fugitive at the time of this shooting and is prohibited from possessing firearms. I believe that Faulk is an ongoing danger to the community and his incarceration is the best way to keep our community safe. 

” I hope that today’s sentencing provides some comfort to Chris Tucker’s family and friends. We appreciate the cooperation of witnesses and business owners during the investigation. We also are grateful to our local law enforcement agencies for assisting MCPD at the time of the shooting and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation for their assistance with the investigation.”