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State v. Jackson

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

December 5, 2019

State of Ohio, Plaintiff-Appellee,
Kareem M. Jackson, Defendant-Appellant

          APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas (C.P.C. No. 97CR-1902)

         On brief:

          Ron O'Brien, Prosecuting Attorney, and Steven L. Taylor, for appellee.

          Carpenter Lipps & Leland LLP, and Kort Gatterdam, for appellant.


          Steven L. Taylor.

          Kort Gatterdam.


          DORRIAN, J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Kareem M. Jackson, appeals from a judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas denying his second petition for postconviction relief. For the following reasons, we affirm.

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         {¶ 2} Jackson was indicted in 1997 on six counts of aggravated murder with death penalty specifications and firearm specifications, related to the killings of Antorio Hunter and Terrance Walker. Jackson was also indicted on four counts of kidnapping with firearm specifications and four counts of aggravated robbery with firearm specifications, related to Hunter, Walker, and two other victims, Nikki Long and Becky Lewis, and one count of felonious assault with a firearm specification related to Lewis. The trial court dismissed the aggravated robbery charge related to Lewis and the case proceeded to a jury trial on all remaining charges. The facts of the case were fully detailed by the Supreme Court of Ohio in State v. Jackson, 92 Ohio St.3d 436, 438 (2001) ("Jackson I") and will only be briefly summarized below as is necessary for our review.

         {¶ 3} The evidence at trial indicated that Jackson, Michael Patterson, Derrick Boone, and a man identified as "Little Bee" planned to rob an apartment where drugs were being sold. Jackson and Little Bee planned to enter the apartment first and buy drugs. Patterson and Boone would then enter the apartment, and the four men would commit the robbery. Malaika Williamson drove the four men to the apartment. Id. When Jackson and the others arrived at the apartment, Hunter, Walker, Long, and Lewis were present. Boone testified at trial that, as planned, after Jackson and Little Bee purchased marijuana, Boone and Patterson burst into the apartment with shotguns. After the men searched the apartment for drugs and money, Patterson and Little Bee left the apartment. At that point, Long and Lewis were located in the kitchen of the apartment, while Jackson and Boone were in the living room with Hunter and Walker, who had been told to lie on the floor. Boone testified Jackson stated he had to kill Hunter and Walker because they recognized him and knew his name. Boone stated that Jackson shot Hunter and Walker in the head with a handgun, first placing a pillow over each man's head before firing. Boone and Jackson then joined Patterson and Little Bee in the car and Williamson drove the men back to her apartment. Long and Lewis then fled the apartment and called the police.

         {¶ 4} Long gave a description of Boone to police and a composite portrait was created and distributed to the sheriffs department and the media. Shortly after the sketch was released, Boone turned himself in to the sheriffs department. Boone made a statement implicating appellant in the shooting. Lewis subsequently identified a photo of appellant as the man who had a handgun during the robbery. Lewis also testified at trial that Jackson was the only individual she saw with a handgun.

         {¶ 5} Williamson testified she drove Jackson, Boone, Patterson, and Little Bee to the apartment where the robbery occurred and drove them away afterward. Williamson testified that when she picked up Jackson and Boone prior to the robbery they placed two long guns in the trunk of her car. When the men were at Williamson's home prior to the robbery, she also saw both Jackson and Little Bee with handguns. Williamson testified that after the robbery, Jackson placed a handgun in a closet at her home. She also stated she had previously seen Jackson with that same handgun. Police later retrieved the handgun when a sheriffs deputy, posing as Jackson's uncle, went to Williamson's apartment with Boone and told Williamson the gun belonged to the "uncle." The handgun recovered from Williamson's apartment was tested and found to have fired the bullets retrieved from Hunter. Although the gun could not be conclusively matched to the bullet retrieved from Walker, the bullet was of the same caliber and possessed some characteristics matching the gun. Police also searched the apartment Jackson shared with his girlfriend, Ivana King, and retrieved a shotgun and two rifles. When police interviewed King, she stated Jackson told her he had "done two people," meaning that he had killed two people. At trial, King testified she did not remember having that conversation with Jackson, but that to the best of her knowledge she told police the truth when she was interviewed.

         {¶ 6} The jury found Jackson guilty on all charges and recommended the death sentence. Jackson I at 438. The trial court accepted this recommendation and sentenced Jackson to death. Id.

         A. Direct Appeal

         {¶ 7} Jackson filed a direct appeal of his convictions and sentences to the Supreme Court, setting forth 17 propositions of law, which the court reviewed and overruled. Id. at 438-51. The court also independently reviewed the death sentences for appropriateness and proportionality. The court concluded the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating factors and the sentences were appropriate and proportionate when compared with similar capital cases. Id. at 451-53.

         B. First Postconviction Relief Petition

         {¶ 8} Jackson filed a petition for postconviction relief pursuant to R.C. 2953.21 in April 1999, presenting 26 grounds for relief. State v. Jackson, 10th Dist. No. 01AP-808, 2002-Ohio-3330. The trial court denied Jackson's petition for postconviction relief without conducting an evidentiary hearing. Id. at ¶ 33. On appeal, this court affirmed the trial court's denial of Jackson's first petition for postconviction relief, concluding the trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying the petition without a hearing because the grounds for relief stated in the petition were barred by res judicata or were otherwise insufficient to warrant a hearing. Id. at ¶ 40-97.

         C. Federal Habeas Corpus Petition

         {¶ 9} Jackson then filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in federal court, which was denied. Jackson v. Bradshaw,681 F.3d 753, 756 (6th Cir.2012). Jackson appealed, raising multiple claims. The federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ultimately affirmed the ...

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