116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Alexander Jackson made a 911 call on June 15, 2021, saying “someone broke into our house and I’ve been shot and my other family member has been shot,” but he couldn’t give a good description of the suspect who “executed” his family, a prosecutor said Tuesday in her closing argument.
Police arrived with limited information and they didn’t know what to expect, First Assistant Linn County Attorney Monica Slaughter, said. As they approached the house at 4414 Oak Leaf Ct. NE, they felt like something was off. They could be heard in body camera video saying they thought it might be a “swatting” — prank call — because it didn’t seem right.
Jackson told police he was shot in the foot and his dad was shot. Jackson could only describe the suspect as “a man.” He said he thought the intruder came in the back door but told police “I’m not an expert.“
Jackson told police he thought his sister was in her bedroom but he never called out to check on her. “Sabrina, I’ve been shot. Dad’s been shot.” He didn’t do that. He didn’t holler to his mother, “Dad’s been shot.”
Jackson didn’t call out for them because he knew they were dead, Slaughter said.
Jackson, 22, is on trial for three counts of first-degree murder. He is accused of fatally shooting his father Jan Jackson, 61, mother Melissa Jackson, 68, and his sister Sabrina Jackson, 19, in their house. The family members were found with multiple gunshot wounds in different rooms in the home.
The trial wrapped up Monday, following six days of testimony.
⧉ Related article: WATCH: Closing statements in Alexander Jackson trial
The jury started deliberating at 12:07 p.m. Tuesday. They will resume deliberations at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Slaughter said Jackson was crouched down by the sofa — where an investigator said a pile of shell casings was found — and shot his father three times when he came down the stairs. Jan Jackson fell face first into the carpet and then Jackson stood over him and shot him two more times in the back of the head.
Sabrina was found in her bed, Slaughter said. She had a gunshot wound to her eye and another one into her torso. Slaughter said Jackson was standing in the doorway when he shot her.
Melissa Jackson was found lying on the floor in the master bedroom. Several shell casings were left near the room’s doorway where Slaughter said Jackson fired three shots. One grazed her scalp, one penetrated her right temple. The shot into her left eye was fired at close range.
Jackson was “inches away from his mother when he shot her in the face,” Slaughter said. He wanted to make sure each family member was dead.
Slaughter said an investigator testified that he had to watch a YouTube video to learn how to load the .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle. It was unique.
Three prints were found on the rifle. There were palm prints on the left and right side of the gun stock. The left palm print was “good quality” — no smudges or smears. It matched Jackson. The right print also matched him. The third was poor quality and not identified.
Slaughter said the prints on the gun were consistent with someone holding it, muzzle pointed down, like Jackson shooting his left foot.
Slaughter said there was blood spatter evidence in Jackson’s bedroom to show he shot himself in the foot. He used a belt as a tourniquet.
The “bloody footprints don’t enter the room,” she pointed out. The prints only exit the room after he shot himself.
Jackson’s lawyer, Tyler Johnston, in his closing said jurors should ask questions because this is a case of circumstantial evidence.
During his closing, Johnston used video screens to display photos of Jackson and his family over the years.
He said the photos were all over their house.
“Why would Alex Jackson kill his family,” Johnston said. “It makes no sense. They were a happy family.”
Witnesses who knew Jackson — friends, his band director, a Boy Scout leader — didn’t know of any issues. They saw him interact normally and happily with his parents.
Jackson had no history of violence or mental illness.
Johnston said it’s possible that someone would break into their home. The Jacksons lived in an affluent neighborhood that’s “perfect” for a home invasion because the houses are spaced out and somewhat secluded.
The intruder’s intent was unknown, Johnston said. Maybe he wanted guns — there were multiple guns in the home.
Johnston said there’s “not a shred of evidence that disproves” Jackson’s version of events that day. The intruder likely came in and saw the gun lying on the fireplace. “Maybe” he had knowledge of that rifle or figured it out, Johnston said.
The man shot Jan Jackson and then went upstairs and killed Melissa. He passed Alexander’s room because he wasn’t there — he was sleeping on the porch. The intruder then shot Sabrina twice and needed to reload.
The intruder realized Jan wasn’t dead, so he stood over him and shot him twice in the back of the head. That’s when Alexander came up behind him, they struggled over the gun, and he shot Alexander in the foot.
Johnston said the bloody footprints in the hallway showed that Jackson went down the hallway to get a belt. The pool of blood next to his bed was where he tried to put the tourniquet around his foot to stop the bleeding.
“Reasonable doubt is all over this case,” Johnston said. “He had no reason to harm his family.”
He asked the jury to return not guilty verdicts on the three charges.
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.”
The defense’s story makes no sense, Slaughter said. The intruder intended to steal items or hurt people and just happened to pick the one door that was unlocked.
But nothing was stolen or “ransacked,” she said. And if the intruder was there to hurt someone, wouldn’t he have had a weapon?
The intruder “executes” the family but didn’t kill Alexander Jackson, who is the one person who can identify him, Slaughter said.
“That makes zero common sense,” she said.
Slaughter pointed out that what’s not seen in the defense’s display of family photos is any recent photo. All of the photos are four or five years old.
“The only recent photos of the Jacksons are them laid out on a cold slab at the medical examiner’s office,” she said.
Comments: (319) 398-8318; firstname.lastname@example.org