Photo | Of court of appeals and the mugshot of the suspect
The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the capital murder conviction and death sentence of Jamal O’Neal Jackson, who was convicted of capital murder for killing his girlfriend while her 4-year-old daughter was inside the same apartment.
Jackson was convicted and sentenced to death in 2017 by a jury in Mobile County for the murder of Satori Richardson. He was also charged with arson for setting Richardson’s apartment on fire afterwards.
Evidence presented at trial showed Jackson was involved in a relationship with Richardson, who he killed during the early morning of July 4, 2014. According to prosecutors, Jackson had been drinking vodka for hours before the murder, which occured around 4 a.m.
Evidence and testimony from Richardson’s 4-year-old daughter indicated Jackson forced Richardson into a bathtub in her apartment, put an electrical cord around her neck and stabbed her 32 times. He then set the apartment on fire, putting clothes into the oven and onto the stove and turning them both on.
He then left the apartment, leaving Richardson’s 4-year-old daughter behind. According to prosecutors, the girl was in the apartment when her mother was killed, but was able to follow Jackson outside. She then went to a relative’s apartment at the same complex, and told them that her mother was dead.
Testimony from doctors who performed the autopsy indicated Richardson died of multiple sharp-force injuries and strangulation. It was determined she was likely still alive after being stabbed. At trial, juros heard a 911 call made from Richardson’s cell phone at 3:50 a.m. — most of it was inaudible, the rest was just screams coming from Richardson’s daughter.
Jackson was apprehended in Gulf Breeze, Florida, a few hours after the murder after leading police on a high-speed pursuit. During the chase, Jackson drove east in the westbound lane of traffic and eventually entered the median and struck a tree. His blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit.
Jackson was prosecuted by the Mobile District Attorney’s office in 2017, and was found guilty of murder, which was considered a capital offense because it was committed during the course of an arson and because of previous incidents of domestic violence between he and Richardson.
According to prosecutors, months before her death, Jackson forced Richardson to drive around Mobile removing money from her bank account. When she pulled off at a Circle K “to get help,” he hit and bit her and eventually drove his car into the Circle K. A witness at his trial also testified Jackson had previously taken his girlfriend to Pinecrest Cemetery and told her “this is where she was going to be.” He also had a prior conviction for robbery using a firearm.
During Jackson’s sentencing, Circuit Judge Ben Brooks said Richardson was “stabbed so forcefully, the long-bladed knife was bent into the shape of a ‘u,’” and also noted that “the victim was aware her daughter was watching her being killed.”
Jackson has been on death row in Atmore since his conviction in 2017, but subsequently sought to have both his conviction and sentence reversed on appeal. His attempt was based on a number of factors including the assertion that he was absent from important parts of the trial. The appeals court found those claims to have little merit, and upheld his conviction and sentence in an order handed down Sept. 20.
“The record shows that Jackson’s sentence was not imposed under the influence of passion, prejudice or any other arbitrary factor,” the opinion reads. “We have independently weighed the aggravating circumstances and the mitigating circumstances, and we are convinced that the death penalty was the appropriate sentence for Jackson’s vicious murder of Richardson in front of her 4-year-old daughter.”
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