Victims of the State

Queens County, NY

Edmond Jackson

June 14, 1970

Edmond D. Jackson was convicted of the shooting murder of Harold Dixon, a bartender at Harvey's Lounge in Jamaica, Queens. The conviction was was based on four witnesses' identification of Jackson as the gunman; there was no other evidence. In Aug. 1978, a U.S. District Court overturned Jackson's conviction due to the unreliability of the identifications. Four months later the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decision. It found that the witnesses' identifications were too unreliable to support Jackson's conviction because the identifications were tainted by suggestive police procedures and because: (1) the witnesses did not have a good opportunity to view the gunman; (2) they had little motivation to study the gunman's face and every reason to turn and run; (3) there was no evidence of how the witnesses initially described the gunman (and therefore no basis for comparison); (4) the witnesses appeared to have displayed varying degrees of certainty when they identified Jackson at the police station; and (5) a considerable amount of time (one month) had elapsed between the crime and their identification of Jackson as the gunman. The court freed Jackson after eight years of imprisonment.  (Reversal) (Affirmation) (News Article)  [12/10]

Kings County, NY

Eric Jackson

Aug 2, 1978

Eric (Erick) Jackson, also known as Eric Knight, was convicted of setting a fire to a Waldbaum's Supermarket in Sheepshead Bay. Six firefighters died in the blaze. The investigation was plagued by public disputes between fire marshals and police arson investigators. After an informant fingered him, Jackson was indicted in May 1979 on arson and murder charges. Police said he confessed to setting the fire for $500. Jackson was sentenced to 25 years to life.

The firefighters’ widows hired an attorney, Robert Sullivan, to bring a lawsuit for civil damages. In the course of preparing that lawsuit, Sullivan concluded that Jackson was innocent. Sullivan turned his efforts toward obtaining Jackson’s release. He was later recognized by the New York State Bar Association for his efforts in the case.

In 1988, a judge overturned Jackson's conviction because prosecutors had withheld evidence from his defense. This information included a fire marshal’s report that there had been “four separate and distinct fires” in the supermarket, of which only one caused the deaths of the firefighters. In addition, a New York City Police detective who had been involved in the investigation concluded that the fire was caused by an electrical short circuit, and said that he had repeatedly told this to the District Attorney’s office.

In 1994, Jackson was retried. The defense maintained that Jackson's confession was coerced and that the fire was an accident resulting from faulty electrical wiring. Jackson was acquitted and released after serving nearly ten years in prison.  (IP Arson) (Inevitable Error) (People v. Jackson)  [7/07]

 Hillsborough County, FL

John Jackson

Dec 19, 1983 (Plant City)

John William Jackson was convicted of the murder of Marie Porter. At about 4:30 a.m. an assailant raped and stabbed Porter in her house trailer on Drawdy Road in Plant City, FL. The victim went to a neighbor for help and told him that “an orange picker, Michigan tag” had done it. She died shortly thereafter. An autopsy revealed a bruise on her right wrist which was determined to be a bite mark.
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Delaware County, PA

Rickie Jackson

Sept 1997 (Upper Darby)

Richard C. Jackson was convicted of the murder of 38-year-old Alvin Davis, his friend and former gay lover. Jackson was a hairdresser who resided in West Philadelphia. Davis was stabbed to death and his body was found nine days later in his second floor apartment at 422 Long Lane in Upper Darby.
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 San Diego County, CA

Sergeant Jackson

Nov 26, 1973 (San Diego)

Sergeant Jackson was convicted of the robbery and murder of Robert Hoke, a gas station attendant. A police informant, Victor Thomas, reported the day after the murder that Jackson had confessed to committing the crime with another man, Gilbert Andrews. Thomas's identification of Jackson was at odds with the description of either assailant given by several witnesses and contrary to the statement of another witness who, after viewing a photo lineup, positively excluded Jackson. After Jackson's arrest, the victim's wife incorrectly identified Jackson's wallet as belonging to her husband.

Jackson was sentenced to prison on April 8, 1974. During his incarceration, another man, Clarence Blunt, came forward and implicated himself in the murder. Blunt was convicted and Jackson was set free. The charges against Jackson were dismissed on Oct. 29, 1974.  (Jackson v. San Diego)  [7/07]

Jefferson Parish, LA 

Willie Jackson

Dec 12, 1986 (Marrero)

Willie Jackson was convicted of rape and robbery after being identified by the victim. In addition, a forensic odontologist testified at trial that the bite marks on the victim matched Willie. Just days after Willie's conviction, his brother Milton confessed to the crime. At least three pieces of evidence implicated Milton, but the victim still identified Willie. In 2006, Willie was freed after DNA tests showed that Milton was the rapist. Milton is serving a life sentence for an unrelated 1998 rape.  (IP)  [12/06]

Los Angeles County, CA

Elmer Jacobs

Aug 1928

Between Aug. 16 and Aug. 20, 1928, four taxicab drivers were robbed of their cash as well as their cabs. Each time the robbers were two males who asked to be driven to a remote location. All four of the taxi drivers identified Elmer P. Jacobs in police lineups as one of the robbers. Jacobs was convicted at trial and sentenced on Nov. 5 to serve 15 years to life for each robbery. The same week that Jacobs was sentenced, four other men were arrested on unrelated charges. Confessions soon linked the men to the taxi robberies, and the robbed taxi drivers identified them. One pair of men had robbed three of the taxi drivers, while the other pair had robbed the fourth taxi driver. The taxi drivers acknowledged that their identification of Jacobs was in error.  (CTI)  [7/07]

Ralph Jacobs, Jr. - See Smith & Jacobs

Sonia Jacobs - See Tafero & Jacobs

Cuyahoga County, OH

Jacobs Field Three

June 11, 2002

Clinton Oliver, Donald Krieger and Andrew Mendez attended a Cleveland Indians baseball game at Jabobs Field in Cleveland. They had upper level seats. After the game began, Oliver and Krieger moved to box seats at ground level while Mendez stayed in the upper deck. At the top of the ninth inning, an explosion occurred in the lower level seats, which injured four people. Witnesses offered contradictory statements about the device that caused the explosion, but one described it as a “small soup can,” thrown from the upper level. Stadium authorities arrested the three men because their tickets had adjoining upper level seat numbers above the explosion site. Oliver and Krieger were held for four days before a security camera showed they were seated at ground level when the explosion occurred.
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 Hillsborough County, FL

Mitchell James

Nov 29, 1999

Mitchell Houston James was sentenced to life imprisonment for three counts of DUI manslaughter. At 1:15 a.m. on Nov 29, 1999, James was driving westbound on Fletcher Ave. in Tampa, FL. As he approaching the intersection of Bruce B. Downs Blvd, he noticed a single signal fly towards him and he slammed on his brakes. A car, with headlights off, ran a red light, at least 20 to 30 seconds after it changed red, and James collided with it in the intersection. The car was occupied by four college students, high under the influence of narcotics. The driver, Leanna D.,19 , had only been licensed for two months and was speeding without wearing her prescribed lenses. The driver and another student, Majid T., died instantly while a third, Jaclyn A., died in a hospital. Majid's aunt, Tami Sbar, was a Florida State Attorney. The fourth student, David S., 20, survived and, according to the Tampa Tribune, had told his mother, he was the only one wearing a seat belt. However, a sheriff's report stated that all four occupants were wearing seat belts.

At the scene, James was questioned about the accident on videotape and it was evident that he was sober, communicating and responding to all questions while suffering from a crushed pelvis. At trial it was claimed that tests revealed he had a .234 to .237 alcohol level in his blood, which is nearly three times the legal limit under a .08 standard. James' alleged blood sample had been improperly stored and was destroyed by the state 5 days after the accident, preventing it from being tested for his DNA. Deputy Candace Fishel, the lead investigator, did a faulty accident reconstruction. She held no degree in physics, and was not an expert in the field of accident reconstruction. Fishel allowed both vehicles to be destroyed long before James' trial. James says, “I am not guilty of DUI manslaughter, because I was not drunk or impaired at the time of the accident, nor was I at fault.”  (IIPPI)

 England (Stafford CC)

Ryan James

Jan 13, 1994

Ryan James was convicted of the murder of his 39-year-old wife, Sandra James. Sandra died from drinking a glass of orange juice that contained a fatal dose of immobilon, a horse tranquilizer. Ryan, a veterinarian, had access to the drug. He also been having an affair with another woman, Catherine Crooks. The lovers had left their spouses to live together, but the cost of running two homes drove Ryan back to his wife.

Sandra's death would have allowed Ryan to start a new life with Catherine on the proceeds of a £180,000 life insurance policy. Besides these proceeds, £143,000 in debts were wiped out by Sandra's death. At trial, Ryan's defense argued that Sandra had committed suicide, but made it look like murder. However, the crown argued that it was murder made to look like a suicide. Ryan was sentenced to life in prison. His trial judge, Justice Anthony Hidden, told him he was “the most evil, selfish, and criminally callous man” he had ever sentenced.

While in prison Ryan married Catherine, who never believed he killed his wife. While going through her new husband's belongings, Catherine found a handwritten note stuffed inside one of Ryan's professional journals. It was in Sandra's handwriting and said, “Ryan, I leave you absolutely nothing but this note – if you find it in time, Sam.” Sam was Sandra's pet name. Because the note indicated suicidal intent, Ryan's conviction was quashed in 1998 and he was released from prison. There was some additional evidence that Sandra was depressed. She had taken anti-depressants in the 1970s. At the time of Sandra's death there were puncture wounds in her foot. It was alleged that she had experimented with the immobilon drug by injecting it into her foot, then injecting herself with the antidote shortly thereafter.  (Innocent)  [10/08]

 Dade County, FL

Thomas James

Jan 17, 1990

Thomas Raynard James was convicted of shooting to death Francis McKinnion during a home invasion. Evidence points to a Thomas James as the killer, but a different Thomas James. Police apparently knew that Thomas Raynard James was not the real killer, so they waited 6 months to charge him, at which time he could not establish where he was or who he was with on the evening of the murder.  (JD)  [9/05]

Hamilton County, OH

Derrick Jamison

Aug 1, 1984 (Cincinnati)

Derrick Jamison was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Gary Mitchell, a bartender at the Central Bar in downtown Cincinnati. Jamison's conviction was based in part on the testimony of Charles Howell, a codefendant who received a lesser sentence in exchange for his testimony against Jamison. In 2002, Jamison's conviction was overturned because the prosecution withheld statements that contradicted Howell's testimony and that would have undermined the prosecution's theory of how the victim died, and would have pointed to other possible suspects for the murder. Additional withheld evidence consisted of a series of discrepancies between Jamison's physical characteristics and the descriptions of the perpetrators given to police investigators by eyewitnesses. Following the overturned conviction, Howell testified that he could not remember anything about the crime, and all charges against Jamison were dismissed in 2005.  [3/06]

Dade County, FL 

Anibal Jaramillo

Nov 30, 1980

Anibal Jaramillo was convicted of the murders of Gilberto Reyes and Candelaria Marin. He was sentenced to death. The prosecution's case was built on the fact that Jaramillo's fingerprints were found on a knife casing, a table, and grocery bag in the victims' home. At trial, Jaramillo explained that he had been in the victims' home earlier that day and had helped the victims' nephew cut open some boxes, but the jury convicted him nonetheless. The victims' nephew was unavailable to corroborate or contradict Jaramillo's testimony, as he could not be located. On appeal, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the prosecution evidence was completely inadequate to support a conviction, and ordered Jaramillo's acquittal in 1982. Subsequent to his release, Jaramillo was deported to Columbia and was murdered there.  (FLCC)

 Onslow County, NC

Lesly Jean

July 21, 1982

Lesly Jean was convicted in 1982 of sexually assaulting Alice Kathleen Wilson. Jean's convictions were vacated in 1991 because the prosecution failed to disclose that the victim and a key witness were hypnotized prior to their identification of Jean. Charges against Jean were dropped and he was released. In 2001, DNA tests exonerated Jean. He was pardoned and awarded compensation by the state.  (IP)  [7/05]

Knox County, IN 

John Jeffers

Mar 1, 1975

John Jeffers was convicted of the abduction, rape, and murder of 23-year-old Sherry Lee Gibson. At first this crime went unsolved, but two years later, Jeffers, then 17, confessed to it while at a juvenile detention facility. Jeffers first confession was inconsistent with the known facts of the crime. However, over time his confession evolved, growing consistent with the facts of the crime – apparently because of information he gathered during interrogation sessions. Because of his evolved confession, a judge accepted his guilty plea and Jeffers was sentenced to 34 years in prison. Jeffers died in prison five years later.

In 2001, a participant in the crime, Ella Mae Dicks, walked into an Atlanta, Georgia police station and confessed. She named her former husband, Wayne Gulley, as her co-participant. Based on the detailed facts known by Dicks, she and Gulley were indicted. When asked why Jeffers confessed, his brother Mark stated, “He had a need to feel important.”  (CWC)  [1/06]

Bill Jenkins - See Marietta Seven

U.S. Federal Case (WA) 

Jeffrey Jenkins


After police physically beat him and threatened to kill him, Jeffrey Jenkins confessed to possessing a sawed off shotgun. Jenkins was convicted, but his conviction reversed in 1991.  (FJDB)  [7/05]

Wayne County, MI 

Lonnie Jenkins

Oct 15, 1931

Lonnie Jenkins was convicted of the murder of his wife. Initially a Coroner's jury found that Mrs. Jenkins had committed suicide by shooting herself. However, Jenkins was later arrested for her murder. At trial a 17-year-old girl who lived at the Jenkins' home testified she had written his wife's suicide note at his dictation. Jenkins' daughter (who was 12 at the time of the shooting) later brought the note to the attention of FBI experts who determined the handwriting on the note was that of Mrs. Jenkins. Jenkins conviction was vacated in Dec. 1940; he was released after serving 9 years in prison.  (The Innocents) (News Article) (Photo)  [12/10]

Erie County, NY

Vincent Jenkins

May 1982

Vincent Jenkins, later known as Habib Wahir Abdal, was accused of rape. The victim, Leslie A. Werner, initially said her assailant was between 5'8" and 5'10" in height, with a space between his upper front teeth, and a “tenor type” voice. Jenkins was 6'2", has no gap between his teeth, and has a deep voice. However, the victim identified him in a show up procedure. Forensic hair identification pointed to a black man other than Jenkins. Jenkins was convicted and served 17 years of a 20 years to life sentence before DNA tests exonerated him. Jenkins was awarded $2 million in 2003 for wrongful imprisonment. He died of cancer in 2005.  (IP) (CWC)  [8/07]

Josephine County, OR

Jasper Jennings

Sept 7, 1905

Jasper Jennings was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of his father, Newton M. Jennings. In 1906 the state supreme court overturned the conviction because of improper testimony by trial witnesses. Charges against Jasper were dropped following a motion at retrial. According to some witnesses, Jasper's sister, Dora, had told them she had committed the crime.  (State v. Jennings) (MOJ)  [1/10]

 Pasco County, FL

Jent & Miller

July 1979

Half-brothers, William Riley Jent and Earnest Lee Miller were sentenced to death for the rape and murder of 20-year-old Linda Gale Bradshaw. Her body was found in Richloam Game Preserve on July 14, 1979. She had been burned to death and her body was not identified. Two women with whom Jent and Miller had been drinking testified against them. Years later one stated that she had testified about “facts” she saw in a drug-induced dream. The other said she felt pressured by police to go along with her friend's story.

A re-examination of the autopsy report demonstrated that the crime never took place the way the eyewitnesses described it. After the victim was identified in 1986, the time of the murder was established, and it was discovered that Jent and Miller had airtight alibis. The victim's boyfriend, Charles Robert “Bobby” Dodd, Jr., had moved away immediately after her murder. Four months later, Dodd's new girlfriend was also found burned to death. Prosecutors allowed the men to go free in 1988 in exchange for them pleading guilty to lesser offenses and receiving time served sentences. In 1991, the Pasco County Sheriff's Department paid the men $65,000 to settle civil rights claims. (CWC)  [11/05]

Maricopa County, AZ

Rachel Jernigan

Sept 20, 2000

(Federal Case) “Rachel Jernigan was wrongly convicted in March 2001 of robbing a Bank of America branch in Gilbert, Arizona in September 2000. Her conviction was based on the eyewitness identification of five people who were in the bank, including the robbed teller, and the bank surveillance video that only showed a woman physically resembling Jernigan. Jernigan was sentenced to 14 years in prison and 5 years of supervised release. After her conviction, but before [her] direct appeal had been decided, she learned in December 2001 from other prisoners that a woman who resembled her had been arrested for robbing the same bank Jernigan had been convicted of robbing, and she was charged with also robbing two banks after Jernigan's arrest, but before her trial.”

“Subsequent investigation resulted in the discovery that the government knew that banks in the area continued to be robbed by a woman resembling Jernigan -- after she was jailed and awaiting trial. Jernigan filed a motion for a new trial based on the government's failure to turn over the exculpatory evidence. Her motion was denied by the District Court. She appealed and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of a new trial. Jernigan sought and was granted a hearing en banc by the full 9th Circuit. On July 9, 2007 the Court en banc reversed the District Court's ruling and ordered a new trial. Habeas petition for a new trial [was] based on the government's failure to disclose the new evidence that she had been mistakenly identified for the actual robber. On February 5, 2008 the federal prosecutors dropped the charge against Jernigan and she was released after 7 years and 3 months in custody. In July 2008 Jernigan filed a federal civil rights lawsuit that named the [cities] of Mesa, Chandler, Tempe and Gilbert, Arizona as defendants.” – FJDB  (JD) (U.S. v. Jernigan)

Verneal Jimerson - See Ford Heights Four