Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Glen St. Mary, FL woman sentenced to life without parole in husband killing

A Baker County, FL woman was sentenced to life without parole for the 1st degree murder of her husband. Circuit Judge James Nilon sentenced Melony Lee Jackson, 40, to the mandatory LWOP sentence for shooting and killing her husband, 47 year old Kevin, outside their Glen St. Mary home in March 2008.

Jackson's lawyer plans to appeal, and the reason for the appeal is the relationship a female juror had with the defendant's oldest son, James Wallace, after the verdict, reached in May. Prosecutors notified Assistant Public Defender George Nelson about the relationship, and Nelson requested a new trial. Nelson said that the juror was tainted by Wallace telling her (and others) that his mother was evil.

“It would only be fair to Ms. Jackson to have a jury that hasn’t heard from her own son telling people she’s an evil bitch,” Nelson said.

But Assistant State Attorney Geoff Fleck of Gainesville argued there was no evidence Wallace made those statements to the juror. And he noted that Jackson never disclosed the relationship during the trial either. “She probably thought that she had a ringer, a friend of her son who would help her out,” Fleck said.

Testimony on Monday indicated that Wallace and [Amanda]Daniels knew each other in high school in 2003 then rekindled their relationship in 2008, with Daniels spending several nights with Wallace at his grandmother’s home.

Despite that, both testified they never discussed the case, and Daniels told the judge she never connected Jackson to Wallace because of their different last names.

Nilon made specific findings that Daniel's "boyfriend" was not known by her to be Jackson's son, and in any case, the fact did not matreially change her verdict.

At the sentencing hearing, 17 year old Dustin Jackson told Judge Nilon that he missed his stepfather, the only father he really knew, in contrast to his mother, who changed from "fun-loving" to "spiteful." "I love her for what she was, but I hate her for what she became and what she’s done.”

His mother wept quietly as her son and her husband’s family spoke to Nilon, but she didn’t look up or make eye contact as they passed the defense table.

Nilon said the case compounded tragedy upon tragedy, but the one that touched him most was the plight of Jackson’s two teenage children, left with one parent dead and the other forever incarcerated.

“My heart goes out to them immensely as well as other members of the family,” Nilon said.

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