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franklin county times

Family still dealing with loss

By Staff
Melissa Cason
Just one day after giving Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing consent to drop murder charges against the man accused of killing their daughter, Patricia and Don Gentry didn't feel any different.
The Gentrys agreed to drop the charges so their daughter's memory would not be tarnished, and so they could move on with their lives.
"No matter what anyone says, I know in my heart that Julie did not use drugs," Patricia said.
Patricia said her daughter was one year shy of completing her education to become a teacher, and was doing well managing her Type 1 diabetes.
"We don't want anyone to think that she did drugs," Patricia said tearfully.
Murder charges were dropped against Jason Jones, 28, of Tuscumbia, Tuesday afternoon for the 2005 death of Julie Black.
Jones pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance and received a 15-year split sentence with three years to serve and five years probation.
While the Gentrys openly admitted that they approved the plea agreement, they look back on it and wonder "what if."
"I didn't want to settle," Don Gentry said. "I felt like we had a good case. I still feel that way."
Don said the only reason they agreed to the plea is to keep their daughter's good name from being abused during trial.
"They were planning to drag her name through the mud in the courtroom and Joey [Rushing] said that at least this way he [Jones] would have to serve some time in prison," he said.
Now that the murder charges have been dropped, the only thing the Gentrys want is to have their daughter's memory left in one piece.
"Julie was a wonderful person," Patricia said. "I can't go see her but I know that she's okay. That's how I make it through without her here with us."

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