KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A man convicted of stabbing and killing a woman on a Third Creek Greenway has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The family of Stefany Fairbanks, the victim, took the witness stand ahead of the sentencing hearing, asking the jury to send Timothy Dwayne Ison, her convicted killer, to prison for the rest of his life.
Fairbanks was walking a Knoxville greenway on a Sunday afternoon in May 2015 when Ison stabbed her, at random, at least 11 times, ending her life.
Fairbanks’ family says justice has been served, but the loss of Fairbanks has forever altered their lives.
One of her aunts, Kathy Wilson, spoke on behalf of Stefany Wilson’s mother.
“She’s a very strong individual but she couldn’t bring herself to be here,” Wilson said.
She read the jury a note Stefany Wilson’s mom had written.
“As a single parent I raised her on my own, and she was not just my child but my best friend,” the note read.
The defense called witnesses of their own, like Ison’s mother and grandmother who tried to offer reasons for their son’s violent crime.
“I should have been a better mother,” she said. “I ruined all of their lives. All three of them are damaged.”
Ison’s mom told the court that her son was exposed to violence and dysfunction in the home, with her husband repeatedly beating her and leaving the children unsupervised.
“I said the kids told me you left them here by themselves all day and they didn’t have anything to eat. Is that true? And he took my face and slammed it into the front door,” she said.
The district attorney said Ison’s troubled home life does not excuse his heinous actions, and Fairbanks’ family told jurors that they want to stop Ison from hurting anyone else.
“We want him to get life in prison without the possibility of parole,” Wilson said. “Not only for us but anyone who has someone they might love that he could come across.”
“When this murder happened two years ago, one of the first thing my boss Charme Allen said to me was that she wanted to make sure that Timothy Dwayne Ison never got out of jail again to harm anyone else and we’re very pleased with the jury’s verdict,” Kyle Hixson, Deputy District Attorney General, said. “That’s exactly the result we reached today.”
Hixson also explained why prosecutors did not pursue the death penalty in the Ison case.
“We had extensive discussions with the victim’s family and Ms. Fairbank’s family simply did not wish to go that route and we were supportive of that decision,” Hixson said.
Timothy Dwayne Ison was convicted Wednesday of first-degree murder in the death of Stefanie Fairbanks. Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen is seeking a sentence of life without the possibility of parole for Ison.
The jury began deliberating Thursday afternoon. Wednesday, the jury came back with a guilty verdict just minutes after deliberations began.
Prosecutors argue that the case requires more punishment. The states says Ison stabbed Fairbanks at least 11 times on a Knoxville greenway in May 2015.
“This murder was committed at random and the reasons for this killing are not obvious or easily understood,” said Knox County Deputy District Attorney Kyle Hixson in court.
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Susan Shipley, Ison’s defense attorney, asked the jury to not send Ison to prison for the rest of his life. Shipley said Ison’s mother had him when she was 15 and was impregnated by an older man who created an abusive family environment.
I just want you to give him an incentive to be better not because he deserves it but because it’s the right thing to do,” said Shipley.