Portland man accused of 1980s serial killings

Homer Lee Jackson was booked into the Multnomah County Jail 12 counts of aggravated murder

Homer Lee Jackson is accused of the 1980s killing of these 4 women: (clockwise) Essie Jackson, Angela Anderson, Tonja Harris, Lantanga Watts. Jackson was arrested in Portland on Oct. 16, 2015 (PPB photos)
Homer Lee Jackson is accused of the 1980s killing of these 4 women: (clockwise) Essie Jackson, Angela Anderson, Tonja Harris, Lantanga Watts. Jackson was arrested in Portland on Oct. 16, 2015 (PPB photos)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN ) – A 55-year-old man who has called Portland’s Vernon neighborhood home for much of his life has been linked to the killing of three adult women and a teen, KOIN 6 News has learned.

Homer Lee Jackson was arrested by Portland Police Bureau homicide detectives from their cold case unit and was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on Friday.

Homer Lee Jackson in a series of mug shots over the years from the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office
Homer Lee Jackson in a series of mug shots over the years from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office

A grand jury saw evidence on Friday that police said links Jackson to the killings between 1983 and 1987. The grand jury later indicted him on 12 counts of aggravated murder.

Police said Jackson is linked to these 4 deaths:

— Essie Jackson, 23. Her body was foud March 23, 1983 long the western edge of Overlook Park in North Portland. Detectives determined she had been dead for “some time” before her body was found. Jackson, described as an “active prostitute” and the mother of a young child, was strangled. She was last seen on February 12, 1983 around 10:30 p.m. near the intersection of NE Union Avenue and Failing Street.

— Tonja Harry, 19. Her body was recovered from the Columbia Slough in West Delta Park on July 9, 1983. She was last seen the night before on NE Union Avenue just south of Killingsworth. At least one witness aid Harry, who reportedly was a prostitute and possible drug user, was seen getting into a blue pickup truck with a blue-and-white canopy.

–Angela Anderson, 14. The teen’s body was found September 2, 1983 in a vacant house in the 400 block of NE Going Street. When police found her they said she had been dead for at least one or 2 weeks. She lived in foster home and had a troubled life, police said, and got into prostitution shortly before she was strangled and sexually assaulted. Neighbors said the vacant house where she was found was used for drugs and prostitution.

— Latanga Watts, 29. Her body was found on March 18, 1987 on N. Going Avenue.  Police said she was also a prostitute and died from strangulation.

It was for the Watts killing that Jackson was arrested and booked for aggravated murder by Portland police.

Essie Jackson, Angela Anderson, Tonja Harris and Latanga Watts are all believed to be killed in the 1980s by Homer Lee Jackson, who was arrested in Portland on October 16, 2015 (PPB photos)
Essie Jackson, Angela Anderson, Tonja Harris and Latanga Watts are all believed to be killed in the 1980s by Homer Lee Jackson, who was arrested in Portland on October 16, 2015 (PPB photos)

Beverly Jones, who lives in the apartment underneath Jackson’s unit, said that she was “shocked,” by reports that he had been linked to a cold case homicide.

“He was a nice person,” Jones said. “He would always keep to himself and we never had any problems with him.”

PPB Cold Case Detective Jim Lawrence, October 16, 2015 (KOIN)
PPB Cold Case Detective Jim Lawrence, October 16, 2015 (KOIN)

Jackson has lived in the same apartment complex in the 5300 block of Northeast 13th for more than a decade, according to court records and neighbors. Jones described Jackson as being “disabled” and said that family members cared for him.

“He was sick,” according to Jones – who also said that Jackson had fallen recently while walking up the stairs to his unit.

Vicente Eljard, who lives in the same complex as Jones and Jackson, said that he learned about the allegations from a news article posted online.

“He stayed up there a lot,” Eljard said, referring to how Jackson didn’t come out of his unit often. When Jackson did, Eljard said that Jackson was always cordial.

All four cases are being investigated by the Portland Police Bureau’s Cold Case Homicide Unit in cooperation with the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office.

Anyone with information on a cold case homicide is asked to call 503.823.0400. Tips can be submitted online.

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