PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – State prosecutors and the defense attorneys representing an accused serial killer have a “pretty significant difference of opinion” when it comes to the interruption of his reported confession.
In court filings, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office alleges that Homer Lee Jackson, 56, may have killed so many people that over the decades, he may have lost track of the victims.
However, his defense attorneys argue not being able to remember something doesn’t ‘mean I did it.’
On Thursday, Jackson appeared before Multnomah County Judge Michael A. Greenlick for a hearing. The defense team was asking Greenlick to dismiss the grand jury indictment against Jackson.
The Portland Police Bureau Cold Case Homicide Unit says they have linked Jackson to the deaths of three women who died in 1983 and a 14-year-old girl who died in 1987.
Essie Jackson, Angela Anderson, Tonja Harry and Latanga Watts are all believed to be killed in the 1980s by Homer Lee Jackson.
According to police, on March 23, 1983, around 5 p.m., a person was walking along the western edge of North Portland’s Overlook Park when he looked over the steep embankment between North Greeley Avenue and the park and discovered the body of a 23-year-old Essie Jackson.
“I think if you look at it fairly, there is no evidence connecting him (Jackson) to the Essie Jackson case,” defense attorney Conor Huseby told the court. “If you read the entire transcript, he (Jackson) says he remembers Overlook Park for two reasons: one, he used to go fishing below Overlook Park and two, he used to go get treatment at Kaiser.”
While being questioned by Cold Case Homicide detectives Jim Lawrence and Meredith Hopper, Jackson repeatedly said he couldn’t remember specific details of the homicides.
Prosecutors played a short clip of the police interrogation.
Lawrence says to Jackson: “Where do we go from here, my friend?
“I may have done them, but I just don’t recollect,” Jackson replies. “That’s as good as I can do. I may have, but I don’t remember.”
When the detectives described where Essie Jackson’s body was found, Jackson said “see, I might have done that one.”
Hopper told Jackson: “We know there’s a big struggle.”
Lawrence added that investigators believe Essie Jackson resisted and “when you (Jackson) were finally able to overcome her physical resistance, the belt was already broken, and that was of no use to you anymore and you just held her down in the water because that’s the easiest thing to do.”
Jackson, without hesitation, seemed to suggest that the detective’s theory was wrong.
“I have a very bad fear of drowning,” Jackson said.
“Like I say, I may have but I just don’t – it just doesn’t fit right. It just doesn’t feel right.”
The defense attorneys suggest that the only reason Jackson was indicted with the murders of Essie Jackson, Tonja Harry and Latanga Watts was because misinformation was presented before the grand jury by Detective Lawrence.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Kristen Snowden told the court she was not aware of any misstatements made by Detective Lawrence to the grand jury. She also said she’s not aware of any perjured testimony. Therefore, the prosecutor said, it’s not necessary to review the grand jury notes.
During the interrogation, Jackson made a statement indicating that he didn’t know if the death of Angela Anderson was his first, fifth, sixth or 26th homicide, Huseby said.
“After he says I have no idea of what number it is, the next line from Detective Hopper is ‘What made you stop?’ Mr. Jackson says: ‘I don’t know. Didn’t even know I had started,’” Huseby said.
Greenlick did not make a ruling. He said he would review the full hours-long video and the transcription of Jackson’s questioning by police. Another hearing will be held once the review is complete.
Huseby suggested to the court that the defense team will likely file a motion to suppress statements made by Jackson during his interrogation. A motion to separate the four homicides into individual cases is also pending.
A trial date has not been set.
Jackson remains in custody at the Multnomah County Inverness Jail.