Murder trial postponed till December

Published 3:00 am Thursday, August 13, 2015

After almost two years of waiting for a trial, the family of a Goshen teen shot to death were left waiting once again Wednesday as the trial was postponed.

Hours before Sammy D. Jackson was set to stand trial on charges of murdering his son, Circuit Judge Shannon Clark ordered the jury venire quashed for the case, delaying the trial until December.

Jackson, 45, was charged with one count of murder and one count of attempted murder after the shooting his sons, then ages 18 and 16. The November 2013 incident stemmed from a domestic dispute with his then wife, and 18-year-old Sammy Jackson Jr. died as a result of his injuries.

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The elder Jackson was found competent to stand trial in late July and the trial was set to begin Wednesday in the main courtroom of the Pike County Courthouse.

However, District Attorney Tom Anderson said that after reviewing discovery several days ago, he felt it was prudent to disclose two statements made which alluded to an event in 2005.

“I thought it was prudent to disclose two statements which allude to an event in 2005 where the defendant, Jackson, hallucinated,” Anderson said. “The victims’ family states this was due to the consumption of raw oysters. However, the defense stated that they wanted to ask questions during jury selection regarding this matter.”

Anderson said Jackson’s defense attorney Sam Dixon also wanted to further question Dr. Doug McKeown, who testified in Jackson’s competency trial and stated he felt Jackson was fit to stand trial.

“In order to accomplish this procedurally, the defense requested Judge Clark declare the jury venire quashed as the jury had not yet been sworn in,” Anderson said. “The state wished to proceed as planned.”

However, Anderson said Clark agreed to grant the defense’s request for ruling the jury venire quashed as a way to avoid any potential appellate issues.

Anderson stated that the venire quashed ruling would have no bearing on the state’s ability to further prosecute the case; however, Anderson said it was disheartening for the family who has been waiting for justice since the incident occurred in early November 2013.

“Our office and the victims representatives wanted to have the trial completed this week,” Anderson said. “We see an additional ability through this delay to counter against evidence we suspect they will tender at trial.”