Florida Supreme Court to Decide Whether Death Penalty Inmate Will Get a New Trial

Kim Jackson, a 45-year-old Florida man, was sentenced to death in October of last year after being found guilty of the 2004 murder of 49-year-old Debra Pearce. Jackson allegedly stabbed the victim in her chest and slashed her throat at her home on Bennington Drive in Jacksonville. Now, the Florida Supreme Court will determine whether Jackson’s conviction and sentence will be overturned and a new trial granted, based on arguments about the two pieces of evidence, a bloody fingerprint and a hair, both said to be the defendant’s.

In October, Nada Carey, Tallahassee Assistant Public Defender, raised the argument that in such a brutal murder, there were only two pieces of evidence – and even that evidence could be in question. While the hair and bloody fingerprint found in the victim’s kitchen did put Jackson in the victim’s home, Carey believes both could have been present for days or even weeks before the murder took place. Carey’s grounds for appealing Jackson’s conviction and sentence is that prosecutors failed to prove the fingerprint was left the day the murder took place.

Carey told Justice R. Fred Lewis that the state’s expert agreed that it was possible that blood splashing on top of the fingerprint, which already existed, could have preserved it. In addition, Carey said comments made about Michelle Royal, the defense’s fingerprint expert, by the Assistant State Attorney supported grounds for the case to be thrown out. Royal testified in court that the quality of the fingerprint was not adequate to determine that it was positively that of the defendant’s right little finger.

According to news sources, prosecutors in the case never offered a motive as to why Jackson would have killed the victim, although drugs were reportedly being sold out of her home.

As Michigan criminal appeals attorneys know, having a conviction and sentence thrown out when DNA evidence is present at a crime scene is extremely tough. Winning an appeal, particularly in a murder case, is rare; however, it is vital to have a seasoned defense lawyer on your side who is highly familiar and experienced with the criminal appeals process, and what is involved. In this case, the Justices did not say when a ruling could be expected. Jackson will remain imprisoned while the court makes its decision.

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