The State claimed at Trial, that on August 31, 1999, Robert Sommerville, Shawon McBride, Dante Chillous, and Jackson were riding in a gray Cadillac, without a particular destination. They ended up near the Redman Apartments, where they conversed in the parking lot with a group of people. Sommerville testified that they spoke with Shalamar Cooperrider, then followed Cooperrider to his aunt's house, where Chillous and Jackson got out of the car. At some point, McBride picked up Cooperrider and Jackson at Jackson's house and dropped them off at an alley a block south of Redman Avenue.
Larry Perry resided in an apartment located at 4614 Redman Avenue with his mother, Margaret Parrott, and his sister Elizabeth Williams. On the evening of August 31, 1999, Parrott and Perry were outside the apartment until Parrott went inside at 11:30 p.m. Perry stayed outside with Elexsis Fulton.
While Perry and Fulton were still outside, Cooperrider approached Perry and the two began talking. Fulton, who had never met Cooperrider before that night, described him as “light brown” with a brush haircut, wearing a tan shirt and tan pants. During the conversation, two more men, whom Fulton described, respectively, as light-skinned with a ponytail and dark-skinned with braided hair and a blue “FUBU” brand shirt, came out of the apartment building one door north of Perry's door. At trial, Fulton identified the ponytailed man as Chillous and the man with braids and a FUBU shirt as Jackson. Fulton claimed he observed Jackson, Cooperrider, and Chillous leave the Redman Apartments in a gray Cadillac after Cooperrider's conversation with Perry.
After the Cadillac departed, Perry entered his apartment and retrieved a .22-caliber Ruger handgun. Parrott and Williams followed Perry out of the apartment, and Parrott observed Perry bending down beside a bush by 4612 Redman Avenue, the apartment building opposite 4614 Redman Avenue. Parrott reentered the apartment.
Fulton testified that the gray Cadillac returned later that evening and that Jackson, Cooperrider, and Chillous got out of the Cadillac. Fulton further testified that Cooperrider had changed from tan clothing to black clothing. Fulton observed the three men approach Perry, at which time, Cooperrider and Perry began arguing. Chillous and Jackson went across the street to Chillous' home, and on their way back, Fulton saw Chillous try to hand Cooperrider a gun. Fulton testified that Jackson got involved in the argument, then pulled out a gun and struck Perry in the head three times. Fulton then ran inside the building and continued to watch from an upstairs window. Fulton testified that Chillous was the first to fire a gun and that he saw Perry being shot in the back while lying on his stomach.
Parrott (Perry’s mother) heard 20 to 30 shots that sounded as if they were coming from different types of guns at different distances; Williams (Perry’s sister) testified that the sound resembled firecrackers. Parrott and Williams ran outside after hearing gunshots and found Perry on the sidewalk with bullet wounds in his stomach. Parrott removed a gun from Perry's belt and gave it to Williams, telling her to get rid of it. Parrott testified that when she removed Perry's gun by the handle, it was not warm.
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Officer Harold Scott of the Omaha Police Department arrived at the scene of the shooting at approximately 12:30 a.m. and discovered Perry's body on the sidewalk in front of 4614 Redman Avenue, surrounded by a crowd of people. Omaha police officer Stefan Davis, upon nearing the scene of the murder, was notified of people who had fled the area. Later. Davis received notification that all suspects were in custody. Jackson, however, was not arrested until October 9, 1999.
Dr. Jerry Jones, who performed the autopsy, determined that Perry died of multiple gunshot wounds that perforated his heart, both lungs, liver, spleen, colon, and kidney. Jones testified that he had examined Perry's body thoroughly and that he did not see abrasions on Perry's head or scalp.
Williams testified to seeing a man, dressed in black with dark skin and a brush haircut, fleeing the scene after Perry's shooting, but she did not know and could not identify Jackson. McBride also testified that he saw a man in black firing a gun. standing by the bushes located near 4612 Redman Avenue. Although McBride did not see the shooter's face, he stated that the shooter wore the same kind of clothing Cooperrider had been wearing. McBride confirmed that he had seen Jackson with Cooperrider shortly before the shooting.
Identical informations were filed against Jackson. Cooperrider, and Chillous in Douglas County District Court. charging each of them with first degree murder and use of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony in the death of Perry. The cases were consolidated for trial on the State's motion, but the district court subsequently vacated this order on the State's motion. Jackson's trial, having the lowest docket number, began first, followed by Cooperrider's and Chillous' trials.
Fulton testified at Jackson's trial that he had no doubt that Jackson shot Perry. Fulton had not known the names of Jackson, Chillous, or Cooperrider before bystanders (who had not witnessed the shooting) told Fulton the names of the three men. Jackson's counsel read into evidence Fulton's testimony from the preliminary hearing that Fulton had learned Jackson's, Cooperrider's, and Chillous' names from the police. Fulton testified that he had identified Jackson, Cooperrider, and Chillous at the preliminary hearing as the men who shot Perry. Fulton had not previously identified Jackson in a photographic or police lineup.
Jackson's aunt testified that at 11:19 p.m. on August 31, 1999, Jackson knocked on her door, entered her home, talked with her, and went into her basement around 11:30 p.m. to play a video game. Approximately 20 minutes later, Jackson's cousin knocked on the aunt's bedroom door to get the cordless telephone and asked her if she had heard gunshots. She had not. Jackson's aunt and cousin testified that Jackson had stayed at the aunt's home that night.
The jury found Jackson guilty of first degree murder, but acquitted him of using a deadly weapon to commit a felony, despite it being an element of First Degree Murder. Jackson then filed a motion for new trial, claiming that Fulton's testimony regarding Cooperrider and Chillous did not have proper foundation, that the jury's verdict was inconsistent and self-contradictory, that the court addressed the jury outside the parties' presence after the jury retired for deliberations, and that there was insufficient evidence to sustain a conviction of first degree murder. The district court overruled Jackson's motion and sentenced him to life imprisonment. Further facts surrounding Perry's shooting are set forth below as necessary.
At Cooperrider's own trial, he testified that he was present at the scene, that he fired his handgun several times in self-defense, and that he did not see Jackson at the scene. Cooperrider also testified that Jackson was not one of the people who shot Perry. Instead, Cooperrider testified that Sommerville and one of Sommerville's friends were present at Perry's shooting. Cooperrider testified that Sommerville wore his hair in braids at the time of Perry's death, in a hairstyle similar to Jackson's. At Chillous' trial, Cooperrider again testified that Sommerville and a friend of Sommerville's were present at the scene of Perry's shooting, but he did not see Jackson or anyone else at the scene. Juries acquitted both Cooperrider and Chillous.
Stephen Kraft, Cooperrider's attorney, submitted an affidavit stating that prior to Jackson's trial, Jackson's counsel contacted Kraft to inform Kraft of his intent to subpoena Cooperrider as a witness on Jackson's behalf for Jackson's trial. Kraft informed Jackson's counsel that because Cooperrider was awaiting trial on identical charges in the same matter, he would not be willing to testify and would invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refuse to testify if called. Jackson served Kraft with a subpoena directing Cooperrider's presence as a witness at Jackson's trial, but Kraft again advised Jackson's counsel that Cooperrider would, if called, invoke his right against self-incrimination.
Jackson filed a second motion for new trial, alleging that Cooperrider's testimony from Cooperrider's and Chillous' trials provided new evidence that would have changed the jury's verdict in Jackson's trial. The district court overruled Jackson's motion for new trial, finding that Cooperrider's testimony was not newly discovered, but only newly available—Cooperrider merely controlled the dissemination of his testimony for tactical reasons. In its order, the district court referred to telephone conversations in which Cooperrider discussed coordinating his testimony with Chillous and other witnesses testifying at Chillous' trial. The district court concluded that even if Cooperrider's testimony had been presented at Jackson's trial, the jury still heard sufficient evidence to convict Jackson.
In Jackson's direct appeal, the court rejected his argument that the jury's verdicts were contradictory and inconsistent. The court concluded that under the aiding and abetting instruction, which accurately stated the law and to which Jackson did not object, the jury could find that Jackson was guilty of first degree murder while also finding that he “did not personally fire a deadly weapon.” The Court also rejected his argument that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. Jackson contended that because investigators had found bullet casings from locations that showed Perry was shot from multiple angles and because the autopsy showed no bruising or abrasion on Perry's head, Fulton's account of the crime was not accurate and Fulton had changed his testimony. However, the court characterized his argument as attacking the witnesses' credibility and rejected it. The court recited evidence that the location of bullet casings could not conclusively prove a gun had been fired from that same location, that Perry did have an abrasion under his left eye, and that Fulton was sure Jackson had shot Perry. The court decided to believe Fulton, despite all other testimony, that it was Cooperrider who matched the clothing description of the shooter, and who testified Jackson was not there, and that Sommerville had the braids and Jackson had an alibi.
Upon review of all case materials, it is clear that Fulton’s testimony does not match any of the evidence. Cooperrider testified he shot the victim and that Jackson was not there. Other witness descriptions of the man with the braids matched Somerville who was there, and Jackson’s alibi is uncontroverted.
Jackson was convicted of aiding and abetting 2 people who were acquitted of the crime.
The court record is State v. Jackson 899 NW 2d 215
It is clear that Earnest Jackson is an actual innocent prisoner.