In Omaha, Nebraska, Earnest Jackson was convicted of murder in 1999. He was 17. He repeatedly stated, which was collaborated, that he was at his aunt's home at the time. Two other boys (Cooperrider and Chillous) were also charged. The Court tried Earnest first. Acquitted him of use of a weapon but convicted him of FIRST-DEGREE MURDER, based on the accessory justifier and felony murder theory.
Subsequently, the next trial occurred. Cooperrider was the defendant. Cooperrider was also the SHOOTER, per his own words. He testified that he was the shooter, that he had defended himself, that Earnest Jackson was not present, he identified two others who were present, and he testified knowing that he risked a lifetime of imprisonment based on his belief that he had defended himself.
The jury heard Cooperrider's testimony, carefully considered all evidence, and determined a crime had not occurred, then acquitted him for acting in self-defense. The third trial of Chillous--with Cooperrider's testimony and a completely separate jury--had the same result...an acquittal.
Earnest Jackson stated he was not there. His family collaborated this. Witnesses contradicted themselves (only one claimed to see Earnest at the scene although unable to identify Earnest in any lineups of any type) and, ultimately, the bias sway that reasonable doubt does not apply when one "believes" this black boy was present. Instead, the jury choose to unconscionably believe that Earnest was an accessory of some sort and that, in this assumption upon extraordinary slim and inconsistent testimony, that he was an accessory to a murder which they were all aware cared a MANDATORY MINIMUM sentence of Life Without the Possibility of Parole. However, even if we decided this dismissal of the purpose of reasonable doubt, which is to protect the innocent from when "IT APPEARED BUT WAS NOT CERTAIN" they were guilty of something, there is no justifying maintaining a murder conviction--even as an accessory--WHEN THAT MURDER WAS DETERMINED NOT TO HAVE BEEN A MURDER but an ACT OF SELF-DEFENSE is indefensible!
What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is a clear case of actual innocence based on a moral stand point (i.e. Earnest Jackson was not present, thereby, not even being guilty of being a spectator of this tragic act) and a legal one (i.e. the crime he was convicted of being an accessory to was determined not to have been a crime at all by TWO SEPARATE JURIES). There are very few--yet no less important--claims of innocence that have these clear positions within them...
Earnest Jackson was not present: INNOCENT!
Earnest Jackson was present: STILL INNOCENT!
This is an injustice that can easily creep into any of our lives. Imagine if your child was hanging around some friends and they got into trouble, so they convicted and threw your child’s life away simply on the basis of guilt by association. Threw them away!
Right now, Nebraska’s pardon board have the power to right this injustice. The three members of that board are Governor Pete Ricketts, Attorney General Douglas J. Peterson, and Secretary of State Robert B. Evnen. Write, email, call them. Demand accountability! Be relentless!
Also connect with the family and community on our brother’s Facebook page: FreeEarnestJackson https://www.facebook.com/groups/29599... Use the hashtag #freeearnestjackson whenever you speak of this case or any injustices involving our criminal justice system and its collateral damage.
On this one, we’re all human beings regardless of difference. Let us not be divide on what none of us would allow to happen to our own family.