ALBANY — Following an array of medical and character witnesses provided by both prosecution and defense attorneys, Jamie Durell Jackson, 33, was sentenced Tuesday to serve a minimum of seven years in prison for the battery of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter.
Jackson was indicted by the Dougherty County grand jury in June, 2012, on one count of aggravated battery — family violence, one count of aggravated assault and three counts of cruelty to a child, all alleged to have occurred on March 6, 2012
After a previous jury trial where Jackson was found guilty and sentenced to spend 10 to 20 years in prison, the defendant was allowed to plead guilty only to the charge of aggravated battery — family violence and receive a hearing.
The purpose of the Tuesday hearing at the Dougherty County Court House was to establish the severity and impact of the injuries caused by Jackson, and not to determine guilt, court officials said.
Camia Gordon with the Dougherty County District Attorney’s Office was first to present her evidence and witnesses. The evidence included photographs of the child’s injuries and the witnesses included two physicians who had examined the victim. According to the indictment and medical testimony, the 3 -year-old child received severe bruises, abrasions, punctures and possible bite marks on numerous places on her head, face and body.
One of the physicians testified that the girls’ left ear drum had been punctured, possibly with a sharp object.
Court records say that at the time of the offense, Jackson lived on Sharon Drive in Albany with his girlfriend, Natasha Adams, and her 3-year-old daughter. According to Adams, Jackson often cared for the toddler while Adams worked evenings.
A Sharon Drive neighbor, Dekebia Alford, testified that on March 6, 2012, she was awakened by what sounded like fighting at the residence of Jackson and Adams, which continued for 15 or 20 minutes.
“It sounded like a deep rumbling,” Alford said, “or someone beating on a wall. It was like a boom, boom, boom.”
Adams said that following the incident, the victim became withdrawn and fearful, often panicking when someone knocked at the door of their residence.
“I just think (the child) needs some sort of justice,” Adams said.
When the prosecution competed its presentation, defense attorney James F. Council Jr. interviewed several character witnesses for Jackson, including family members, friends and clergy, who called him “a good man,” good with kids, a leader and mentor to children. At least two family members stated they still did not accept Jackson’s guilt.
“He loves kids,” said Jackson’s uncle, Larry Carter. “He’s always trying to help other people’s kids. He takes them and makes them better people.”
When Jackson was allowed to speak, he was asked to suggest what he considers a just sentence. He declines.
“I have no idea what would be the right sentence,” Jackson said, “Because I didn’t do anything.”
Superior Court Judge Denise Marshall reminded Jackson that he had previously and formally admitted his guilt.
“I was persuaded,” Jackson replied.
Council immediately requested a brief conversation with his client, after which he stepped back toward the center of the court room to address Jackson.
“You are here to talk about your character,” Council said to Jackson. “Do you understand that? If you want to talk about anything else then come back over here and sit down.”
At the end of Jackson’s presentation, Judge Marshall handed down a sentence of 7 to 15 years, seven of which would be served in prison, the following eight on probation with the right to petition an end to that probation after three years.
In addition, Jackson was ordered to undergo psychiatric assessment and treatment for at least 18 months following his release from prison.