Jackson v. State, CR-16-1039

CourtAlabama Court of Criminal Appeals
Citation303 So.3d 846
Decision Date20 September 2019
Parties Jamal O'Neal JACKSON v. STATE of Alabama
Docket NumberCR-16-1039

303 So.3d 846

Jamal O'Neal JACKSON
v.
STATE of Alabama

CR-16-1039

Court of Criminal Appeals of Alabama.

September 20, 2019
Rehearing Denied November 8, 2019


KELLUM, Judge.

The appellant, Jamal O'Neal Jackson, was convicted of murdering Satori Richardson during the course of an arson. See § 13A-5-40(a)(9), Ala. Code 1975. The jury unanimously found beyond a reasonable doubt the existence of one aggravating circumstance — that Jackson had previously been convicted of a felony involving the use or threat of violence, see § 13A-5-49(2), Ala. Code 1975 — and, by a vote of 10 to 2, recommended that Jackson be sentenced to death for his capital-murder conviction. The trial court followed the jury's recommendation and sentenced Jackson to death.1 This appeal followed.

The evidence adduced at trial indicated the following. On the morning of July 3, 2014, Jackson and Richardson, who were dating, went to the home of Jackson's cousin, Jans'sica, to visit. Jans'sica said that Jackson drank vodka during the visit. Jackson then spent the afternoon visiting his grandfather, where Jackson continued drinking alcohol. Jackson's grandfather did not know how much alcohol Jackson drank during that time. Later that night, at approximately 11:00 p.m., Jackson and Richardson returned to Jans'sica's house with Richardson's four-year-old daughter, Tiauna, where they stayed until 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. the morning of July 4, 2014. While at

303 So.3d 860

Jans'sica's house, Jackson, Richardson, Jans'sica, and Jans'sica's boyfriend drank almost three bottles of vodka. Jackson, Richardson, and Tiauna then went back to Richardson's apartment on Navco Road in Mobile. Testimony indicated that at 3:50 a.m., the emergency 911 center in Mobile received a telephone call from Richardson's cellular telephone. A recording of that call was played for the jury. During the call, a woman can be heard screaming.

Dorneshia Bendolph, Richardson's cousin who lived in the same apartment complex as Richardson, testified that around 4:30 a.m. the morning of July 4, 2014, Tiauna knocked on her front door and said that "[h]er momma was dead in the tub and her dad just killed her momma." (R. 1766.) Bendolph further testified:

"[Prosecutor]: What did you do when [Tiauna] told you that?

"[Bendolph]: And I asked her again, I said her dad because I know that wasn't — her dad was in prison, and that's when she told me Jamal. And I grabbed my phone, I went outside and I seen next-door neighbor standing outside, then I noticed the car was gone. So the next-door neighbor told me that she seen Jamal sitting in the car and [Tiauna] come from around the car, then he pulled off. So I went in the house. There was one light on above the stove and you could see smoke, but I didn't think it was that heavy, so I was calling [Richardson's] name and I didn't get no response.

"[Prosecutor]: Okay. Let's talk about the stove real quick. What was the condition of the stove?

"[Bendolph]: All the eyes [of the stove] were on, the oven was on and there was a T-shirt in the oven and it had blood splatter across the top of the stove, like where the knobs were.

"[Prosecutor]: Did you do anything to the stove when you saw that the eyes were on?

"[Bendolph]: Yes, I turned all of them off."

(R. 1766-67.) Richardson tried to go upstairs to the second level of Richardson's two-story apartment but was unable to breathe because of the smoke.

Janet Roberts, who also lived in the same apartment complex as Richardson, testified that, in the early morning hours of July 4, 2014, she was awakened by a smoke alarm going off in her apartment. She said that the second level of her apartment was filling with smoke. Roberts looked out her window and saw a man sitting in an automobile in the parking lot; a young girl was walking around the front of the vehicle. Roberts had previously seen both the man and the young girl around the apartment complex, and she knew that the young girl was Richardson's daughter.2 Roberts then went outside and found the young girl standing with another resident of the apartment complex, who she believed to be Richardson's cousin. Roberts telephoned emergency 911 to report the fire and then asked the young girl where her mother was. The girl said: "My momma is dead." (R. 1462.)

Law-enforcement officers were the first to arrive at the scene. When Joseph Law, a corporal with the Mobile Police Department, arrived, he saw smoke billowing from the apartment complex and several people standing outside, including Tiauna. According to Cpl. Law, Tiauna said to him: "My Daddy killed my Mommy and set the house on fire." (R. 1489.) At the time of trial, Tiauna was seven years old. She testified at trial, in relevant part:

303 So.3d 861
"[Prosecutor]: What do you remember that was bad that happened [to your mommy]?

"[Tiauna]: Well, she was screaming and I went in the room and then I saw him telling her to get in the bathtub. He went in the bathroom and he runs some water and then he put her in the tub.

"....

"[Prosecutor]: When she started screaming, what did you see?

"[Tiauna]: I saw him putting her in the bathtub.

"[Prosecutor]: Do you remember how he was choking her?

"[Tiauna]: Just how regular people choke people. And then when he was about to leave the house, then he had set the house on fire and then he had — he thr[ew] up on the stairs, he went out, and I went out too when he went out.

"[Prosecutor]: Okay. When you went out, was there anything filling up the air?

"[Tiauna]: No, but when I went outside, I went to [Bendolph's] house.

"[Prosecutor]: You said that he set the house on fire; do you know where he did that?

"[Tiauna]: In the house.

"[Prosecutor]: Do you know if it was upstairs or downstairs?

"[Tiauna]: On the stairs."

(R. 1750-51.) Tiauna identified the man as "Jamal" and said that "Jamal" had a hammer and a knife and that he "[d]id something to my mommy with [the knife], but I don't know because I was in the bathroom downstairs." (R. 1764.)

Firefighters arrived on the scene shortly after law enforcement. They found Richardson in the bathroom on the second level of the apartment; she was in the bathtub, which was full of water. Firefighters took her outside and paramedic Thomas Manning began performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Richardson. Manning said that Richardson had no pulse, had an electrical cord wrapped around her neck, and had numerous lacerations and punctures on her body. Richardson was transported to Spring Hill Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

Dr. Staci Turner, a medical examiner with the State of Alabama, testified that Richardson suffered 32 sharp-force injuries to her body that varied in depth and size. Richardson also "had hemorrhages in the soft tissue of her neck and the soft tissue surrounding her voice box, and the soft tissue surrounding her hyoid bone" and "petechia hemorrhages in her eyes." (R. 1825.) It was Dr. Turner's opinion that Richardson died of multiple sharp-force injuries and strangulation.

Kenneth Gillespie, a detective with the homicide unit of the Mobile Police Department, examined Richardson's apartment after the fire was extinguished. He said that there was soot on the stairs; that the upstairs bathtub was filled "with a dark red liquid believed to be a mixture of blood and water;" and that there was a pile of clothes that appeared to be burned on the floor in the upstairs bedroom. (R. 1773.) In addition, Richardson's driver's license, some cash, and a bent kitchen knife were on the bed. The knife, Det. Gillespie said, was bent "almost completely into like a horseshoe." (R. 1773.)

Rufus Watkins, a captain with the Mobile Fire & Rescue Department who was an arson investigator in July 2014, testified that he investigated the fire at Richardson's apartment. Capt. Watkins testified that the area of the apartment with the most damage was a closet in an upstairs bedroom and that the origin of the fire was clothing that was located on the floor of that closet. Capt. Watkins further testified:

303 So.3d 862
"[Prosecutor]: And how did you rule out any kind of accidental starting of this fire?

"[Capt. Watkins]: Based on the circumstances surrounding what took place that evening, I ruled that it was highly probable that it was an incendiary fire."

(R. 1693.) It was Capt. Watkins's opinion that the fire was not accidental but was intentionally set.

Henry Guess, a cashier at a gasoline station/convenience store located on Gulf Breeze Drive in Gulf Breeze, Florida, testified that at approximately 5:45 a.m. the morning of July 4, 2014, a man, later identified as Jackson, drove into the parking lot and parked his automobile. Jackson stayed in his vehicle "for a long period of time, longer than normal" before he got out and entered the store. (R. 1503.) Guess said that Jackson was disheveled and had what appeared to be dried blood on his clothes and shoes; he also appeared to be intoxicated. According to Guess, Jackson wandered up and down the aisles in the store but did not look at any of the merchandise; instead, he kept looking at the area where the cash register was located. Guess testified to what happened next:

"[Jackson] walked into the men's restroom and he stayed in there an inordinate amount of time. When he came out, there was a floor display of some hats and shirts and miscellaneous. He ran into it and knocked it over and then bumped into the counter and continued to just sort of wander around the store and continue to eyeball me. And at that point in time, I got a little concerned that he might be looking to do harm to the store or to rob the store. He then went out to his automobile, sat in it for a few minutes.... That's when I called the police."

(R. 1504.)

Officers with the Gulf Breeze Police Department responded to Guess's telephone call and approached Jackson as he was still sitting in his vehicle in the parking lot of the gasoline station/convenience store. Jackson did not respond to the officers' questions or commands. After a...

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2 practice notes
  • Jackson v. State (Ex parte Jackson), 1190138
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • February 28, 2020
    ...no indication that the State engaged in disparate or desultory questioning of jurors," Jackson v. State, [Ms. CR-16-1039, Sept. 20, 2019] 303 So. 3d 846, –––– (Ala. Crim. App. 2019), I would allow briefing on the issue of whether Jackson's case should be remanded for a Batson hearing based ......
  • Jackson v. State (Ex parte Jackson), 1190138
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • February 28, 2020
    ...taken to the death house and placed on a gurney and injected with a lethal substance until he is dead as a result of the proceedings 303 So.3d 846 that we have in this court on this case. So that's basically our position going into this thing."545 U.S. at 256, 125 S.Ct. at 2334. Miller-El a......
2 cases
  • Jackson v. State (Ex parte Jackson), 1190138
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • February 28, 2020
    ...no indication that the State engaged in disparate or desultory questioning of jurors," Jackson v. State, [Ms. CR-16-1039, Sept. 20, 2019] 303 So. 3d 846, –––– (Ala. Crim. App. 2019), I would allow briefing on the issue of whether Jackson's case should be remanded for a Batson hearing based ......
  • Jackson v. State (Ex parte Jackson), 1190138
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • February 28, 2020
    ...taken to the death house and placed on a gurney and injected with a lethal substance until he is dead as a result of the proceedings 303 So.3d 846 that we have in this court on this case. So that's basically our position going into this thing."545 U.S. at 256, 125 S.Ct. at 2334. Miller-El a......

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