#SendEarnestHome: Tell the Nebraska Board of Pardons to bring an innocent Black man home.
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In 2000, a jury found Earnest Jackson guilty of the first-degree murder of Larry Perry. Jackson was 17 years old at the time of the crime and the court sentenced him to life imprisonment for the murder conviction. Jackson’s conviction rested on the testimony of a sole eyewitness. Although Jackson had an alibi, that he was at his aunt’s house the night in question, Elexsis Fulton testified that Jackson was at the scene and participated in the murder of Perry. The identifying facts were slim: a man who was “dark-skinned with braided hair” and a blue “FUBU” brand shirt.” Fulton also testified that Jackson had pulled out a gun and struck the victim in the head three times with it. This was a blatant inconsistency with the autopsy report of Perry. When Dr. Jerry Jones, the medical examiner, performed the autopsy, he reported that while Perry died from multiple gunshots, there were no abrasions on the victim’s head or scalp that were consistent with being struck in the head three times with a gun. Despite the inconsistencies in Fulton’s testimony, Jackson was convicted by a mostly white jury with a sole Black juror. Conversely, Jackson was acquitted of a deadly weapons charge.
Co-defendants Cooperrider and Chillous were tried in separate, subsequent trials. With his trial occurring after Earnest’s, Cooperrider admitted to the murder of Perry and was acquitted on self-defense grounds. Cooperrider testified that he was present at the scene, that he fired his handgun several times in self-defense, and that neither Jackson nor Chillous were at the scene. He maintained this testimony both at his own trial, and Chillous’s trial - when Chillous was also acquitted. For Jackson, it was too late. Jackson would have been acquitted had he went to trial after Cooperrider's trial, just as Chillous had been acquitted. However, Jackson remained convicted and incarcerated even after Cooperrider confessed.
Subsequent appeals that were denied, Jackson was still convicted for a crime that he did not commit. Under a new SCOTUS decision, Miller v. Alabama, Jackson required resentencing because the SCOTUS decision barred life terms for minors convicted of homicide. In a devastating blow, Jackson was resentenced to 60-80 years. During the course of resentencing, the judge commented that it wasn't his job to act at the pardons board and assess the facts of Earnest’s conviction. However - not all District Court judges took this approach in this wave of resentencing proceedings in Nebraska at the time.
In 2017, Earnest exhausted his last appeal due to a narrow reading of how Cooperrider’s testimony and confession does not qualify as “new evidence” to grant Jackson a new trial. Now, it is in the hands of the Nebraska Board of Pardons to commute Jackson’s sentence at his next review hearing in April 2021. Join us in asking the Board of Pardons to #SendEarnestHome to his family.
Earnest & I have been married for almost 4 years. Earnest is 39 years old and he deserves to have a real-life with his wife & his family that has stood by his side during his incarceration. We ask that you support our efforts and get his case the publicity it needs to get him released sooner than 2029.
Please share & sign this petition, be a voice for Earnest and our family lets get him the justice that he so rightfully deserves that the Nebraska Criminal Justice System failed to do for him and so many others.
Thank you in advance for your support.
Mrs. Earnest D. Jackson, (Tracy Jackson) & Family
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