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1 Was justice served? The homicide of Mr. Jerry Jackson April 6, 1995 Prepared by Elizabeth C. Pittinger Citizen Police Review Board - Pittsburgh.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Was justice served? The homicide of Mr. Jerry Jackson April 6, 1995 Prepared by Elizabeth C. Pittinger Citizen Police Review Board - Pittsburgh."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Was justice served? The homicide of Mr. Jerry Jackson April 6, 1995 Prepared by Elizabeth C. Pittinger Citizen Police Review Board - Pittsburgh

2 2 The Incident Shortly before 1:00 a.m. on April 6 th 1995 Pittsburgh Police Officer Charles Conroy observed a vehicle turn onto Heldman St, the wrong way. Conroy followed him. At Burrows St., Pittsburgh Housing Authority Police Officer John Charmo assisted Officer Conroy in pursuit of the vehicle. 1990 Mazda 626 – the model driven by Jackson

3 3 The Pursuit Charmo assumed the lead and was assisted by at least six other Housing/City police units. 1:06: they crossed Birmingham Bridge traveled east on Carson, through a chain-linked fence at the old LTV site at 26 th &Carson 1:07: crashed back out heading west on Carson 1:08: Jennings called out for HACP to terminate pursuit 1:09: they turned right onto 10 th St., crossed the 10 th St. Bridge 1:10: shots fired 1:11: stopped 1076 feet into the west tunnel wall

4 4 The Tunnel Jackson entered the tunnel followed by Charmo (HACPD),Zollars & Godlewski (PBP), Conroy (PBP), Kenny & Runco (PBP), Jennings (Lt.-HACPD) Sgt. Terrence Schofield (HACPD) entered the southbound side to reach the north end and block exit from tunnel.

5 5 The Ambush Jackson and Charmo traveled into the tunnel engaging in a series of collisions Charmo began firing 40 cal. rounds from his Sig Sauer into Jacksons vehicle Vehicles come to rest – Charmo resumed shooting from stationary position in drivers seat Jennings began firing 9 mm rounds from his Berretta when he observed Charmo slump in his seat Godlewski & Zollars followed Jennings lead and fired their 9 mm Glocks at Jackson

6 6 14 wounds 1 =.40 cal Black Talon slug removed from brain (Charmo) 1 = 9 mm slug removed from brain 1 = not recovered - through neck & severed spinal cord 7 =.40 cal Black Talon slugs removed from right shoulder/right upper quadrant (Charmo). 4 = not positively identifiable for origin (16) -.40 cal. Rounds from Charmos Sig Sauer ( 7) - 9 mm rounds from Jennings Berretta (no hits) (11) - 9 mm rounds from Godlewskis Glock (17) - 9 mm from Zollars Glock 51 rounds fired at Jackson 35 fired after vehicle was stopped The Wounds Except for the 9mm lodged in brain, all rounds had a trajectory consistent with discharge from Charmos seat in his vehicle (a right to left, rear to front path)

7 7 The Aftermath Jacksons car was against the west wall of the tunnel at 1076 feet northbound. Charmos left front- end was lodged in right front end of Jacksons vehicle. Jackson was pinned. Schofield hears radio broadcast that vehicle is stopped inside tunnel and enters on foot. At about 40 he hears barrage of gunfire. He is hit in right ankle by a ricocheting bullet.

8 8 The Inquest - June 28, 1995 Coroner Perper convened an inquest into the death of Jerry Jackson (jury). Deputy Coroner Arthur Gilkes presided. Assist. Dist. Atty. W. Christopher Conrad presented the evidence. Charmo testified that he fired because he feared for his life after Jackson spun around and headed toward Charmo then spun again and attempted to flee.

9 9 Charmo testified that Officer Conroy reported on the radio that the vehicle was stolen (probable cause for the pursuit). Conroy denies reporting vehicle as stolen. Conrad puts an Officer Bair on the stand to testify to an incident in 1990 in which Jackson rammed Bairs police vehicle with a stolen vehicle. Canofari, PBP Homicide Detective testifies to position of vehicles, recovery of casings.

10 10 The Coroners Jury returns with 4 members finding the shooting was justified and 2 members finding cause to charge involuntary manslaughter. No officers were charged.

11 11 The Discovery The Jackson family filed a civil suit against Charmo and the HACP. During preparation of the suit, a police videotape of the scene in the tunnel was discovered. The videotape documented evidence in the tunnel that refuted Charmos story – and that of the officers who backed his story.

12 12 The Jackson family accepted a $350,000 settlement in December of 1998. In January of 1999, the case was re- opened. A second inquest was conducted and on in February 1999. The Coroner recommended that Charmo be charged with homicide. On 2/3/99 Charmo was arrested and charged with 1 st degree murder.

13 13 The Trial Trial opened 2/5/01 The jury heard three days of testimony On 2/19/01, the jury reported it was deadlocked, 9-3 D.A. Zappala vows to retry Charmo

14 14 The Resolution 3/9/2001: Mrs. Ina Jackson, Jerrys mother, died. 10/11/2001: Charmo pleads guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter, a 1 st Degree Misdemeanor D.A. Zappala reports that he was afraid he couldnt get a guilty verdict on the murder charge. Judge Cercone sentences Charmo to 11 1/2 to 23 months.

15 15 With credit for time served, Charmo was released on 12/12/01. He served only the minimum imposed for killing an unarmed man, lying in official matters and conspiring with other officers to cover it all up. No one was prosecuted for the perjury or obstruction of justice committed in the original coroners inquest.

16 16 What happened at the first inquest? –Conrad failed to prepare and present evidence in an impartial manner –PBP officials failed to disclose evidence and inform the coroners jury of facts that refuted what was presented What could have happened? –PBP supervisors and investigators should have followed procedures and been held accountable for failing to do so –ADA Conrad could have been charged with obstruction for failing to present evidence and attempting to influence the coroners jury

17 17 18 PA C.S.A 5101 Obstructing the Administration of Law or Other Governmental Function A person commits a misdemeanor of the second degree if he intentionally obstructs, impairs or perverts the administration of law or other governmental function by force, violence, physical interference or obstacle, breach of official duty or any other unlawful act except that this section does not apply to flight by a person charged with crime, refusal to submit to arrest, failure to perform a legal duty other than an official duty, or any other means of avoiding compliance with law without affirmative interference with governmental functions.

18 18 18 PA C.S.A. Ch 49 Falsification and Intimidation in Official Matters 4902 Perjury 4903 False Swearing 4904 Unsworn Falsification to Authorities 4906 False Reports to Law Enforcement Authorities 4910 Tampering with or Fabricating Physical Evidence 4911 Tampering with Public Records or Information

19 19 And we wonder why some citizens dont trust law enforcement…….

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