Nicholas Jamal Nix

The third jury to hear the state’s case against Nicholas Jamal Nix in the March 2011 shooting death of 23-year-old Katlin Lidge found Nix guilty of second degree murder and sentenced him to 45 years in prison.

He received a 30-year sentence for the murder conviction and an additional 15 years for using a firearm.

Nix, 20, of Monticello, will be eligible for parole after serving one-fourth of the sentence.

Authorities say Nix, the brother of Lidge’s girlfriend, fatally shot the former UAM football player during an altercation at a Monticello apartment complex. The state’s evidence included an e-mail in which Nix indicated that he might kill Lidge over something related to Nix’s sister.

But Nix claimed it was self defense, that he did not intend to kill Lidge. He claimed Lidge jumped on him and started choking him and he fired the gun to get him off. Lidge was shot four times.

Another jury in August acquitted Nix of first-degree murder but found itself hopelessly deadlocked 7 to 5 on second-degree murder. That was the second jury to hear the case. A mistrial was declared in his June trial when that jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict.

Arguing against the minimum sentence in his Friday afternoon closing remarks to the jury, 10th Judicial District Prosecutor Thomas Deen asked the jury to send a message to young black men.

“This has got to stop – young black men killing young black men for no good reason,” Deen said. “I’m not naive enough to think everybody in Southeast Arkansas is going to say ‘wow, look what happened in the Nix case in Drew County’ but there will be some that will be deterred.”

The jury deliberated 15 minutes before returning with the 45-year sentence. It was the maximum sentence allowed for those crimes.