Jackson convicted of murder

Published 4:00 am Friday, December 11, 2015

A Pike County jury deliberated less than hour Thursday before convicting a Goshen man of murdering his oldest son and attempting to kill his youngest son.

Sammy Dee Jackson was convicted of murder in the November 2013 incident that killed his oldest son, Sammy Demondre (Dre) Jackson and critically injured his younger son, Shyheim Jackson.

District Attorney Tom Anderson said the conviction, which came after four days of testimony in Pike County Circuit Court, brought justice to the family. “This day has been a long time coming for this family, and they are ready to put this matter behind them,” he said.

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“On Nov. 9, 2013, Carolyn Jackson and her children encountered the devil in their very own home: her husband and their father armed with a 12 gauge shotgun,” Anderson said. “As Carolyn called the Sheriff’s Office for help during a domestic dispute, her husband loaded the shotgun and walked into their den where he shot both of his sons, killing Dre, a senior at Goshen High School, and injuring his younger brother, Shyheim.”

Although Sammy Jackson was arrested the same day, getting the case to trial took nearly two years. Jackson was scheduled to stand trial in February, but hours before the trial defense attorneys were granted a delay to conduct another mental evaluation on Jackson. Jackson was found competent to stand trial in July after a competency hearing where additional evidence was presented including testimonies from Jackson’s previous employer and law enforcement officers.

Jackson was then scheduled to stand trial in August, and a jury was selected before the trial was again delayed. Anderson said at the time after reviewing discovery evidence he felt it was prudent to disclose two statements, which alluded to an event in 2005 in which the defendant had “hallucinated.” That, combined with a defense request to further question an expert who testified at the competency hearing, prompted the delay.

On Thursday, Carolyn Jackson said she was relieved to finally get justice and closure.

“I wasn’t going to let this pass by,” she said. “My child is dead and he’s not going to die for no reason … all I wanted was for the truth to come out.”

Anderson praised the diligence of the Pike County Sheriff’s Office, Investigator Troy Johnson and Police Detective Terry Miles, as well as the family. “Without the bravery of the victims in this matter and their wish to fight for each other and for justice, we would not have been able to hold Sammy Dee Jackson accountable for his actions.”

Carolyn Jackson has remained steadfast in her conviction that Jackson was competent to stand trial and should be held accountable for the actions that night. “We just prayed and prayed about it,” she said. “God knows we were telling the truth and we deserved justice …

“There were only five people in the house at the time and one isn’t here to speak for himself, so I was going to do it for him.”

She said the conviction brings closure for the family, including her surviving son and daughter.

“Now it’s time for me and my kids to live the life we wanted to,” she said. “Even though Dre isn’t here, he’s looking down on us smiling.”

Sentencing has been set for Feb. 4, 2016, and Anderson said he plans to seek the maximum punishment of consecutive life sentences.