Jury delivers ‘guilty’ verdict in Eddie Ray Jackson Jr. trial

Published: Apr. 17, 2021 at 10:45 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - The jury in the trial of Eddie Ray Jackson Jr. has delivered a unanimous verdict of “guilty” to the charges of second-degree murder and attempted armed robbery with a firearm for the February 2017 shooting death of James Melton outside the Save More convenience store on Lee Street.

On the last day of the trial, Jackson willingly took the stand to testify, after being advised otherwise, as family members of James Melton watched from the audience.

During his testimony, Jackson said that he was nowhere near the scene that day and that the male subject in a black hoodie who was captured on surveillance video is not him.

Witness statements heard the day before put Jackson at the scene when the shooting occurred. When asked what Jackson was wearing that day, those witnesses stated that he was wearing a dark-colored hoodie.

One of those witnesses is Nicholas West.

While on the stand, Jackson stated that he and West were not friends and he only “knew of him”.

Back in 2017 when Jackson made a statement to police, he told Det. Torrance Bowens that he was with his cousin near the scene that day and he heard a gunshot and then saw a dead body.

When asked why he would make that statement to police he said that he learned of his cousin being near the scene and being involved in a crime that day, so he helped his cousin create an alibi because “he’s family; that’s the type of guy I am,”.

Before the defense rested its case, Jackson was asked two final questions—Were you at the store that day? And did you shoot James Melton? He answered “no” to both.

During closing arguments, prosecutors submitted to the jury that Jackson should be found guilty as charged. Meanwhile, the defense submitted that the prosecution had not proven Jackson to be the person seen in the dark-colored hoodie in the surveillance videos and should be found not guilty.

After the guilty verdict was presented, sentencing was set for May 3, 2021.

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