ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) –  An Albuquerque man convicted of killing UNM baseball player Jackson Weller will serve a life sentence in New Mexico’s prison system. Darian Bashir was sentenced in a Bernalillo County District courtroom Tuesday morning, three months after a jury convicted Bashir on first-degree murder and evidence tampering charges.

The sentence will ensure Bashir stays in prison for at least 33 years. Bashir, who will turn 26 in April, will be eligible for parole in 2055 after serving 30 years for first-degree murder and 3 years for the evidence tampering charge.

“I think there are no winners in this but we want to thank John Duran very much for all the work that he did on behalf of Jackson and getting justice for Jackson,” said Lisa Weller, Jackson’s mom. “I think you have to trust the justice process and the outcome was the right outcome.”


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Judge Cindy Leos sentenced Bashir, saying the case had some of “the most damning evidence” she’d ever seen. The judge highlighted surveillance video of the shooting, saying Bashir left the scene of the crime “casually,” “as if he hadn’t just shot somebody in the chest and murdered them.”

Weller was shot to death in May 2019 outside of a now-defunct Nob Hill bar. The night of the shooting, Weller was out with friends and fellow teammates at Imbibe nightclub when prosecutors say the group got into a fight with a group of men that Bashir knew.

Prosecutors say Bashir wasn’t there during the earlier fight that precipitated the shooting, but that Bashir showed up later to confront Weller. During the trial, prosecutors argued surveillance video shows Weller was walking away from Bashir when he called Weller towards him while concealing a gun. He then used to shoot Weller.

“This was a completely unjustified murder that was done with sheer callousness and cold-bloodedness,” said John Duran, a deputy district attorney for the Bernalillo County DA’s Office. “He murdered him without provocation.”

During the trial, defense attorneys suggested Weller used “emotionally charged slurs” against Bashir. Judge Leos responded to that argument during the sentencing hearing.

“The defense never contested killing Jackson, it was, and continues to be whether or not Mr. Bashir was provoked that day, there was zero evidence of provocation, zero evidence despite the defense urging the court to consider this was somehow racial motivated that night,” Judge Leos said. “There’s no evidence of a racial motivated crime from Jackson’s perspective.”

At Tuesday’s hearing, several members of the Weller family spoke, including Jackson’s father, Patrick Weller. He described Bashir’s actions as “predetermined,” suggesting this wasn’t his “first rodeo.”

“How does someone carry out such a predetermined, violent, senseless act? At point-blank range, with no regard for human life or the impact it would cause so many people for generations,” Patrick Weller said. “And then exit the scene in way and pace that resembled someone taking communion at the alter while on the way back to take their seat, obviously not their first rodeo.”

Describing her son, Weller’s mother Lisa Praeger Weller said Jackson was “the happiest he had ever been” before his death. She described an ambitious student who felt “good about his grades” and had several prospective business plans he was going to pitch.

“My joy at that moment changed to horror because he came home in a coffin,” Praeger Weller said. “I dressed him in a sport coat for the first time for his funeral.”

Bashir acknowledged his role in the shooting Tuesday. He also offered an apology and condolences to the Weller family in a statement Tuesday.

“I want to start by apologizing to the Weller family, I know there’s nothing that can be said or done that can fill the void that has been placed within your hearts,” Bashir said. “This is something I have to live with the rest of my life, and it’s something that being locked up or free will never be able to change. Again, I offer my deepest, most sincerest apology to the Weller family and to the family of my own.”

Several of Bashir’s family members also addressed the judge Tuesday. Bashir’s mother offered condolences to the Weller family while asking for leniency in sentencing and defending her son’s character.

“Despite the person, the media, the DA, and others have tried to make my son be, my son is a very spiritual, giving, and compassionate young man,” said Fadeelah Bashir, mother of Darian Bashir, in part, sharing a story about Bashir buying clothes for families who couldn’t afford it. ”My heart goes out to the Weller family, but the son that I raised is not the person that has been spoke of, he is a very humble, compassionate young man.”

The 2019 murder played a significant role in galvanizing a month-long, unprecedented law enforcement blitz in the Albuquerque area known as the “metro surge.” Through May and June 2019, around 50 New Mexico State Police officers from across the state patrolled the streets of Albuquerque, aiding Albuquerque Police with day-to-day law enforcement.