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Alexander Jackson faces 3 life sentences for killing his family in 2021
‘Alex wanted the world to think he was a victim,’ but they know the truth today, his father’s family members say
CEDAR RAPIDS — A Linn County jury Wednesday convicted Alexander Jackson and he faces three life sentences without the possibility of parole for what a prosecutor called the “execution” of his father, mother and 19-year-old sister in 2021.
Jackson, 22, was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder. He fatally shot his father Jan Jackson, 61, mother Melissa Jackson, 68, and sister Sabrina, 19, in their northeast Cedar Rapids home on June 15, 2021.
He showed no reaction when the verdict was read and his lawyers attempted to shield him from television and still cameras in the courtroom. When deputies handcuffed him and led him out of the courtroom, he seemed to tear up.
“Alex wanted the world to think he was a victim of this horrendous crime, but we know that is not the case, and now, everyone knows the truth of what happened that day,” Kay Jackson, Jan’s sister, and her daughter, Danielle Jackson Parsons, said in the statement after the verdict.
“Alex murdered three members of our family and that pain will never go away,” the family said. “Jan, Melissa and Sabrina were loved. They will live on in our hearts and the hearts of those who knew them forever.”
They also wanted to thank the prosecution team and the jury for “giving our family justice.”
Kay Jackson and her daughter were in the courtroom throughout the six days of testimony.
The jury deliberated about five and a half hours over Tuesday and Wednesday.
Sentencing is set for March 3 in Linn County District Court.
First Assistant Linn County Attorney Monica Slaughter, after the verdict, said this was an important case but they treat every case the same, giving it the “upmost attention,” as they do in all violent offenses.
She and Assistant Linn County Attorney Jordan Schier were confident of their case, but at the same time aware 12 jurors may view evidence differently. Jackson also was represented well, Slaughter said, but they were hopeful that the family would receive justice.
It was a circumstantial case, so it was crucial to have evidence from the crime scene, and Slaughter complimented Brandon Boesenberg, a former Cedar Rapids crime scene investigator. Boesenberg was responsible for collecting evidence, including Jackson’s palm prints found on the .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle he used to kill his family. Police also had video evidence from Ring doorbell cameras that didn’t show anyone entering or leaving the Jackson home at the time the murder happened.
Slaughter pointed out that evidence that didn’t exist — signs of an intruder or forced entry of the house — also was important to help prove Jackson was the killer.
Schier said they always hope they give the family some kind of peace so they can eventually move forward with their lives.
“I don’t think that makes this verdict any easier on them — knowing that a family member killed and murdered their other family members, but at least now the healing process can begin,” Slaughter added.
According to testimony, Jackson made a 911 call on June 15, 2021, saying somebody broke into the house, 4414 Oak Leaf Ct. NE, and shot him in the foot and another family member was also shot. He could only describe the intruder as a “Black man in black clothing and green shoes.”
Police found no forced entry and nothing was stolen or out of place in the home, according to testimony. Officers found Jan in the lower level with five gunshot wounds, Melissa was in the master bedroom with three gunshot wounds, and Sabrina was in her lower level bedroom, next to Alexander’s room, with two gunshot injuries.
A medical examiner said they each died from multiple gunshot wounds. Melissa Jackson was shot in the eye at close range.
Jackson never admitted to police he killed his family. He was interviewed for several hours at the hospital while being treated for the gunshot to his left foot but continued to blame the alleged intruder.
The defense, during its closing, focused on the lack of physical evidence, saying this was a circumstantial case which jurors should be questioning because there’s “not a shred of evidence that disproves” Jackson’s version of events that day, Tyler Johnston, Jackson’s lawyer, said.
Johnston also focused on the fact that the prosecution couldn’t say why this happened. What was Jackson’s motive, Johnston asked, because he had “no reason to harm his family.”
Slaughter, in her rebuttal closing, said Jan Jackson had told Alexander he needed to get a job or he had to move out. He had $30 in his bank account.
“Is money the motive,” Slaughter said. “Would he inherit all the money and assets from his parents? I don’t know, but I don’t have to prove a motive. There’s never going to be a good enough reason why he killed his family.”
A scholarship fund has been established by one of Sabrina Jackson’s former Kennedy High School teachers in her name. The scholarship supports travel expenses for Kennedy students interested in participating in the annual school-sponsored trip to Japan, which Sabrina attended. Donations to the fund should be directed to the Cedar Rapids Community Schools Foundation with “Sabrina H. Jackson Memorial Scholarship” under the “tribute name” section.
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