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Watertown Mother Remembers Son, Offers Message To Other Parents

watertown, sd - A KELOLAND mother says she has a sense of closure after the man accused of killing her son is in prison. 

After pleading guilty to first degree manslaughter,  31-year-old Alexis Velazquez-Sanchez was sentenced to 50 years in prison with 10 suspended. 

According to court documents, Velazquez admits to firing the shot that hit 17-year-old Jayden Harley after an argument escalated last summer in a Watertown neighborhood. 

This case dates back to June 10, 2017, Jayden's high school graduation party. 

His mother Amanda Woodland says family and friends had gathered at a local hotel for the special occasion. 

Eventually he left to go hang out with friends.

That would become a final goodbye. 

It's getting easier for Amanda Woodland to look at pictures of her 17-year-old son Jayden Harley, including photos from his graduation party. 

Kelli Volk: Is that close to the last time you saw him?
Woodland: Yeah, within hours. 

Later that day, she would receive devastating news.

The boy she describes as spunky and full of life had been shot. 

"I had a feeling something was wrong before I found out," Jayden Harley's Mother Amanda Woodland said. 

It's a loss that would cause grief for any parent.

Still, Woodland agrees with the prison sentence handed down to the suspect in the case. 

"I can't let hate consume me because if I do I'm only letting that drag me down and I'm not going anywhere either," Woodland said. 

Instead, she's focusing on spreading a message to other parents. 

"Always love your kids. Hug them; kiss them. You never know when they walk out that door if they're coming back or not," Woodland said. 

Meanwhile, she continues to remember and honor her son.

Woodland says she's also trying to create more awareness about violence and she's considering planning something in September for National Day Of Remembrance for Murder Victims. 


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