Demopolis Police capture murder suspect

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 18, 2004

When four members of the Demopolis Police Department surrounded a house Saturday on East Monroe Street, they knew a suspected murderer waited inside. Other than that, officers had no idea what to expect.

Jerry Jermaine Jackson, 20, was arrested Saturday in the Brickyard neighborhood of Demopolis after fleeing Marietta, Ga., on two charges of murder and five counts of aggravated assault. According to police in Marietta, Jackson is one of three suspected of taking part in a May 8 shootout that left two Hispanics dead.

Last Thursday, Demopolis Police received information that Jackson could be in the area. The same day, police received tips that the suspect had been seen — on more than one occasion — in Demopolis.

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After notifying members of the media, police phone lines filled with local citizens who had information on Jackson.

“Most people didn’t know about it until it got in the newspaper and on TV,” said Jeff Manuel, public safety director and acting police chief. “We started getting tips after that.”

The final tip came Saturday morning when police were told that Jackson was in the home of an elderly man on East Monroe.

Det. Sgt. Tim Soronen and Officers Paul Foster, Chris McInnis and James Jones surrounded the home shortly after noon on Saturday. Key information, such as Jackson’s mindset or his possession of weapons, was unknown.

“You’re going after a man who killed two people,” Manuel said after Jackson’s arrest. “It’s a very controlled situation. An officer, in that situation, can’t get spooked and shoot him.”

With such little information about Jackson, police officers had no idea what would happen when they opened the door to make the arrest. Jackson could have opened fire. He could have taken the occupant of the house hostage. The scenarios were endless.

When members of the DPD finally opened the door, Jackson did none of the above. Instead, he tried to hide in a pile of laundry.

Without incident, police peacefully arrested Jackson and took him to headquarters.

“You have no idea what an excellent job our guys did,” Manuel said. “If you think about it, [officers] have to walk in this house thinking [the suspect] has a gun. They don’t know what’s going to happen.”

In the end, officers had to take no shots, and the occupant of the house — apparently unaware of the circumstances — was not injured.

“We don’t think he knew anything about it,” Manuel said. “He didn’t have a TV or newspapers in his house.”

Police are not seeking any sort of charges — such as harboring a fugitive — against the occupant in the home at the time of Jackson’s arrest. The murder suspect, on the other hand, faces a broad range of charges.

Jackson, along with Jonathan O’Neal Williams, 18 of Marietta, and Arien Kardale Johnson, 18, of Marietta, have all been charged for the murders of 32-year-old Jaime Sanchez Maldanado and 34-year-old Guillermo Calderon.

Though Marietta police have not completed their investigation of the May 8 shootings that sent four to the hospital, they have not dismissed investigating the case as a hate crime.

According to Manuel, Jackson has told police he will not fight extradition back to Georgia. If a person is arrested in a state other than the one where he is accused, the suspect has a right to an extradition hearing.

As of press time Monday, police said Jackson was still being held in the Marengo County Detention Center in Linden. Upon being transported from Demopolis to Linden on Saturday, Jackson shouted expletives and pulled his shirt over his face to avoid being photographed.

Investigators from Marietta traveled to Demopolis on Saturday night and interviewed the suspect. According to Marietta Deputy Chief David Beam, a fugitive squad from Marietta will travel back to Marengo County within the week to transport Jackson back to Georgia.

“Obviously, our guys did an outstanding job,” Manuel said. “But we also want to thank the community for helping. We received a number of tips that helped us make this arrest.”

By Jonathan McElvy / Publisher