Tattnall County club murder suspect sentenced to life in prison

TATTNALL CO., GA (WTOC) - A Tattnall County man received his sentence Wednesday for a 2016 murder outside Glennville.

Travis Hankerson's loved ones said they never imagined it would take 25 months to get justice for his death, but they're grateful to have it now.

Tommy Cooper went to court already convicted of murder and other charges connected to Hankerson's death from gunshots at the Social Hall club in Tattnall County. Prosecutors brought Hankerson's mother and daughters to the stand to address Cooper and their loss.

"I don't understand how you could just take someone like that," said Travia Williams, the victim's daughter.

Cooper showed no expression. Hankerson's mother said her son's murder had pushed her to thoughts of suicide. The family endured a previous trial that ended in a mistrial.

"I knew we would come to a point where we would get justice," said the victim's mother, Kassie Lakes. "I just didn't know when. I didn't know how long it would take, but I was willing to wait. It didn't matter the wait of it, as long as justice was served."

Defense attorney Hugh McCullough offered no witnesses or evidence in the hearing. Assistant District Attorney Steve Archer introduced Cooper's lengthy criminal record. Hankerson's mother described the crime as a tragedy for both men's' families.

"I really forgive him for what he put my family through. Not for what he did to my son, but for what he put my family through," Lakes said.

Judge Jay Stewart sentenced Cooper to life in prison without the chance of parole.

Cooper's attorney declined comment on camera after the sentencing but confirmed he had already filed a motion for a new trial.

Copyright 2018 WTOC. All rights reserved.