Anatomy of Murder

A murder case has many layers: the victim, the crime, and the investigation. To truly understand it, you need to dissect each piece of a tragic puzzle. Join Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi and Scott Weinberger every Wednesday for an insider’s perspective, as they reveal to you the Anatomy of Murder.

The Last Word (Juwan Howard)

The Last Word (Juwan Howard)

Tue, 15 Nov 2022 08:00

Grudges spawn chaos in the shooting death of a young man. Investigators track down the man spotted in surveillance, but are baffled by the victim’s friend who fled the scene.

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These are all tragic events, right? Nobody deserves to die. I was pretty saddened by Joanne's death. Good kid. I felt like his story would be told. I'm Scott Weinberger, investigative journalist and former deputy sheriff. I'm Anna Sige Nikolazi, former New York City homicide prosecutor and host of investigation discoveries, true conviction. And this is anatomy of murder. Today, you're going to hear from retired detective Paul Belli. So I was actually with the sheriff's office in Sacramento for about 24 years total. He's worked a lot of high profile cases before, such as the Golden State Killer, which I'm sure you're all familiar with. But one of the things that we find fascinating about his work is something he's actually done before even getting to homicide. Early on, I got to do a lot of fun things. We would do bike stings. When you first hear the term bike stings, you may be thinking members of the sheriff's office battling bike thefts. But actually, it's another form of patrol. As an example, whether it's motorcycles, bicycles, or even horseback. We were using motorcycles in kind of a non-traditional function. We were assigned actually to our gangs and narcotics units, pulling over certain suspects, doing stops, going in an essentially suppressed crime. There is an advantage. It's about visibility in the community, as well as an effective method of crime fighting. In larger cities like New York City, the officers on horseback are actually used for crowd control. Bikes and motorcycles also were used in patrol areas, which are not easily reachable by patrol cars. It was an awesome assignment. I'm an avid motorcycleist, mainly dirt, to get the ride for your job. It was pretty awesome. And beyond that, he also worked within the prison system. Ran our gang intel unit, and at that time we had a shake down crew as what we called it, but essentially enforcing jail crimes, investigating jail crimes. The case we're discussing today has nothing to do with bikes or prisons, but it's that experience that he had that will help Paul solve a very at least in some ways random crime. And it happened on December 21, 2013. The initial phone call actually came from a surviving victim. It was early Saturday morning when the sheriff's office received a 911 call from Thomas Kagan. He detailed how he and his friends were pumping gas at a station, several people confronted and attacked them. So Thomas and his friends tried to drive off, but as they did, shots were fired, and the driver, Joanne Howard, was clinging to life. They locate our caller, Thomas. They find, Joanne is in the backseat of Cadillac STS, kind of a larger sedan. Officers immediately attempt CPR, recognizing that he does not appear to be doing well, trying to get a pulse back. Every case is in some ways different from every other. But the crime we're talking about today is markedly different in this respect from the get go. They normally start with a body is found or someone calls because someone has been found dead. But here we're starting with a crime that actually begins when our victim is still very much alive. The fire department was in route, so they were able to get in and get to the victim relatively quickly. We actually begin on this journey at his last moments of life as that life is actually draining from his body. However, at that point, they ended up pronouncing him deceased. So it's too early in the investigation to determine whether this was a targeted attack, meaning that they were followed to the location and then the shooting occurred, or whether they just met up with this second group of people and an argument ensued and that led to gunfire. So it was just a matter of time, whether it was none of those at all, and it was just happenstance that literally they targeted someone and they hadn't even spoken. Jouan was the only one that was struck, not only during the initial assault, but by the gunfire itself. While all these questions are swirling, one at the very top is just a simple one. Why him? Anytime you can develop the victim's ID and you know who the victim is, you can start getting to work immediately on victimology. Why did this person get shot? Was it not random? Was it a random chance meeting like this one? Luckily investigators had the opportunity to interview his friends almost immediately because they were actually right there at the shooting and they were also able to paint a picture of who Jouan was. While the events were still fresh in his mind, Thomas Kagan described him as one of his best friends. He was pretty well-liked, individual, he was just a hard work in 19-year-old, had not been involved in gangs or anything to that effect despite growing up in kind of a rougher neighborhood. Sometimes people placed them in selves in positions in which that's a very likely outcome or they engage in high risk behavior and that was not Jouan. He wasn't that person. Jouan had grown up in the Bay Area and by the time he turned 18 years old he had moved out and that was a year prior to the shooting. Jouan very recently moved to the Bay Area with his girlfriend. He was working at Jack in the Box and making a life for him and his girlfriend looking at going to school. Pretty decent kid. In the days leading up to the shooting, Jouan was making a short visit back to the Bay Area to see his friends. You know Scott, the fact that he hadn't been back here for a while, you know what is it say to you as far as being targeted, you know back to that question of is this targeted or random? I think it seems less targeted based on the fact that he had not been in the Bay Area for quite some time. Investigators were able to get from his friends basically exactly what their night had been like and it was this. Three friends met up that night, the three friends being Jouan, Thomas and Terrence and these guys had one goal that night and that was just to go out together and party. I think it was Terrence's birthday and essentially what he said was they had gone to a friend's house, they were looking to try to find a party to go to so they visited with a separate friend for a short period of time and then they all got in the car and they went to a fast trip market. But none of them were of the legal drinking age so the three of them pulled into the convenience store hanging around looking for someone who was old enough and willing enough to buy them liquor for a party. So the fast trip is basically located on a very busy corner in Sacramento. It's got gas pumps on one side, obviously a fairly decent convenience store with parking on the other. It's important to know who was where inside the car. Thomas, who's the one who later called 911, he was the backseat passenger. Terrence was the front seat passenger and that left Jouan, he was the driver. At one point they pulled around to the gas pumps, not intended to get gas but just waiting for somebody to come out with the purchased alcohol. And this is the moment where the three friends would meet up with another group. But they had a different goal in mind. They're immediately confronted by a group of three or four males. Almost immediately one of them starts punching Jouan through the open drivers window. You know what I think of my first thought is looking at this scene. Was this an attempted car-checking or what about a possible robbery? As I listen to this I hear it back to some of the things that have happened in New York where at times groups of unfortunately normally young people have just gone out to make trouble and maybe there was nothing between these two groups at least specifically at all. As Jouan's getting punched he goes to put it in drive, tries to drive off. One of the suspects produces a firearm and fires into the vehicle as Jouan is starting to drive. The bullet entered the side of Jouan's chest and exited the right side of his back. I hit both lungs and severed the aorta. Gunshot wounds to the head are fatal about 90% of the time with many of the victims dying before arriving to the hospital. Medical experts say a gunshot wound that pierces your aorta, the rate of survival is even less. At that point Jouan is still clinging to life, panicked, terrified. Jouan drove for a short period, was starting to black out in Thomas' view. His two friends did whatever they could to at least try to keep him alive. Jouan began to lose consciousness. Terrence had to reach over and bring the cart to the stop and pull Jouan's leg off the accelerator. Terrence grabbed the wheel and Thomas pulled Jouan into the back seat of the car. Thomas got into start driving. Terrence ended up leaving the vehicle and going home or at least to another location. And then that's when Thomas drove and ultimately stopped at a separate gas station about four or five miles away. Jouan Howard died a short time after that. Now there's this huge looming question of why it was Jouan murdered. Probably something at this point at least is not adding up, but before they can solve the why, investigators are starting by looking for the who. Police were on the hunt for Jouan's killer, but the group of attackers weren't the only ones at large. Jouan was out with two of his friends, Thomas, who was the one who called 911 and reported the murder and Terrence, who was nowhere to be found. Anytime you have somebody leave the scene, that is a concern. Okay, we have to stop and talk about this for a moment. Terrence is nowhere around. So just think about at least from a common sense perspective for a moment. A friend, at least someone that you're friendly enough with to be in a car with is hurt, seriously hurt, shot. And you aren't doing anything to try to help them or even to stick around, you're just gone. I'm already having a big question mark as to that. I've had cases where gunshots have come from within the car, but it's been reported that somebody else came up and shot the victim. Is it possible that Thomas may be leaving decals out to protect Terrence? And you know, we have to remember something also. Is that we're getting all of the what happened from one person and that is the other person in the car, Thomas, because Joanne, unfortunately, was already mortally wounded when police arrived, Terrence is nowhere to be found. So while hopefully, and we'll presume at this point that Thomas is being truthful and open about all of it, you have to even question all of it like you do in any case until all the pieces have all lined up. I've had cases where the surviving victim doesn't tell us about a third person in the car for many, many interviews. And then you do determine, hey, there was somebody else in the car. Paul would turn to science to help answer that question, hoping to either rule Terrence out or in as being possibly involved in this homicide. Crime's investigators were able to pinpoint the trajectory of the round that was fired into Joanne's car as he was behind the wheel. And based upon where we can see the defect in Joanne's chest, the evidence was very quickly able to determine that that didn't come from within the vehicle. The shot came from just outside the driver's door into the vehicle, so it confirmed that no one inside the car could have discharged that weapon. So while they've already pretty much been able to eliminate through science, a Scott noted that they can rule Terrence out as a shooter, they still need to find him and question him. But there's also still a crime scene right there that at the moment, at least, needs to be the primary thing they need to do in process. While for investigators, there are a lot of advantages for a crime to occur in a public place, as witnesses can provide timely intel. But on the flip side, public locations can be a nightmare for evidence collection, including people walking all over the scene, potentially contaminating it, and I've seen cases where a bystander will pick up a shell casing and just walk away. And in the reverse, there can often be things that have nothing to do with your crime at all, but you just don't know it because, again, it's a public busy space. The unfortunate part about that particular convenience store is that it is not unknown to have shootings that occur there. It's in a pretty rough neighborhood, and I know I've responded to that particular gas station in my patrol career for shootings, and certainly as a homicide detective several times. There is one very important aspect of a public setting that we haven't talked about. The use of surveillance cameras, they can be an incredibly useful tool in a case like this. And you can see in this surveillance video that we obtained, Joanne, drive in. The video captures the moments before the shooting. With Joanne behind the wheel, he pulls his car up to the convenience store. You can see that they were in the parking lot. They parked kind of in front of the convenience store away from the pumps at one point. Thomas and Terrence exit the car and head into the store. They buy separate items and juice and cigarettes or something to that effect. They come back out. You can see that they did contact somebody out in front. As they walk back out from the store, they notice Joanne is talking with a group of men near the gas pumps. Then Joanne grabs his car and pulls up near them. They did notice this car with other individuals in it about their same age. And I believe Terrence might have asked one of them, hey, do you guys know of any good parties or anything to that effect? So when they look at it, nothing on it suggests anything unusual or anything specifically targeted in this video, but they also have video basically the entire interaction. And so if you have that video, then hopefully at least you're also going to have some sort of footage of the suspects car, you know, a tag number or other information that might hopefully lead to identifying and also lead them to their shooter. However, as luck always has it, some of the cameras were non-functioning that night. Always happens. It's unfortunate to hear, but it isn't an uncommon occurrence. Many retail stores get expensive surveillance systems and in some case to lower their business insurance rates. And that once the system is in, they don't pay to maintain them and the cameras and the systems just lie dormant. In this case, the cameras closest to the pump would have revealed many more details about the shooter and about the car he was in. And besides whether you actually have footage at all, it also comes down to the quality. And trust me, it's not like on everyone's iPhone at all. Most of the video footage we get, at least back in most of that I saw over the years, it's very often grainy when you get it from these stores. So if it's grainy, you won't get the details that you might need to make those identifications. It was a dark colored car. I couldn't even figure out exactly what make or model. It was. You can see in this surveillance video, you do capture shooting, but it's very brief and you couldn't make any IDs related to it. You can kind of see the firearm. It's a difficult grainy one, but he's in a shooting stance. Arm raised, there's an extension of his hand. It appears to be a firearm. We don't have surveillance of the shooting at the vehicle. We have surveillance of turning and clearly raising his hand appears that he's firing at the vehicle from some distance as well as the vehicle takes off. And that's all out of camera view, at which point the second individual comes in. It's difficult to tell if he has a firearm, but then a black vehicle takes off out of the parking lot and then stops and picks up both of those two people and off they go down a foreign road. No make, no model, no tag, no ID. So you may be asking what investigators were able to gain from this grainy video. Well, the video did yield one lead. But what it did provide us was a very good picture of the jacket, which was a fairly distinctive jacket. I think it's a NASCAR style jacket. Very bright yellow and red with a shell gas station emblem across the back and other types of patches. And you can't really make out what the other patches are, but the big shell logo on the back is unmistakable. So now that they have that information about the jacket, they also had the testimony from the witnesses, at least the one police were able to put together at least the basics of who they're looking for. Black males approximately 25 with dreaded hair with kind of a dyed tip. He did mention that one of them had a tattoo on his hand, but he wasn't sure what the tattoo said or anything to that effect. And while that definitely helps the ID, there was more that Thomas remembered. Thomas related that he heard one of the males say, you jumped me. And let's just think about those three words. You jumped me. So what does that mean? Let's go back to the initial questions we were talking about. Is this random or is it targeted? Well, you jumped me. It doesn't sound so random. At least it insinuates that there is a prior interaction. The words that were said, you jumped me. Revenge is a big motive, oftentimes in murders and other types of crimes. So that became an immediate, okay, well, we need to get on this and flesh this entire portion of it out. We've talked about cases with mistaken identity. Could this be someone who, you know, just isn't quite right in his saying something that makes no sense and is not rational at all? Or is there something to it? So at least now you need to start to look at the path. Does Joanne or any of the guys in that car having a problem with someone? Although he didn't know any of the individuals, he felt that Joanne must have known at least one of them. So this is a great jumping off point for Paul. Now he and his team have to focus on finding out who may have had a previous beef with Joanne. They have a rough description of the shooter. Now they need to connect some dots. When you have somebody that was there at that time and he is saying, hey, listen, there's clearly some sort of connection here. I don't know what the connection is, but it's pretty clear. While you always have to look at victimology because it always aids a case in some aspect, here now is becoming even more important. So police really need to look more closely at Joanne. Okay, I need to look at what kind of history does the victim have? Has he reported any assaults or anything to that effect? He hadn't. He's also need to look closely at Joanne's own circle. Was there someone that's close to him that may have at least in their own minds had reason to kill him? So now you're going to rely on, okay, well, who are his close, close friends that are going to be able to provide that information to us? So that leads to even more importance and urgency to sit down with Terrence. We worked very hard trying to find Terrence. We ended up locating him. I think the following day are the next and he came in for an interview. Paul was finally able to locate Terrence who was not able to add much to IDing the shooter. Terrence didn't know who these folks were either. It wasn't something that he had called them. He didn't set anything up. Thomas didn't set anything up. But it was nothing along those lines. And so let's think about why someone might flee the scene, right? And when they're not involved in the crime at all. You know, we've seen it in various scenarios, aren't they afraid of what just happened? If this is targeted, are the perpetrators, are they going to come back? Do they just have a distrust of police? Maybe they just don't like dealing with the police? Or maybe it has something to do with their own past and law enforcement, some sort of contact that they just don't want to be there when police arrive. Why did Terrence run? I mean, obviously, you know, you're 19 years old and that happens. Sometimes that doesn't always bring about the most clarity and decisions. But ultimately, he had had some warrants for his arrest and was worried about getting arrested. It happens all the time. It's actually happened to me on a couple of occasions. When you're interviewing a potential witness, it's routine to ask them information, including their data birth. So for someone without standing warrants, it is a big red flag for them. Fear and they may get arrested. They try to avoid any interaction they could have with police. I've had people flee from me on foot. And by car, who base their fear of being arrested on potentially a simple misdemeanor warrant, now they're facing serious felony charges. It's very common. So while Paul Belly is trying to figure out the who, he's going to do that by trying to now figuring out though why. So with that, he's going to interview friends and family or anyone who might be able to give him some insight into those three words you jumped me. Here's uncover a long, complicated, I guess you would call it bad blood that was brewing for two years between Jawan and another person. In April of 2012, Jawan's younger brother William and a friend were walking in a neighborhood park in South Sacramento. And they were harassed by two people in the park who told them not to walk there. And essentially what they told us was William and Carrey were at a park not far from their house. This person was upset with them because Tagewan's little brother had thrown a rock at William and Carrey's mom. And so there was kind of a heated exchange at which point this person came over and slapped William. We ultimately learned that was Tagewan Jackson. So William goes back and does what you might expect. He goes back to his family, his older brother in this case, who is Jawan and tells him what just happened. And so then Jawan wants to find out who it is that's bothering and messing with his younger brother. So that's when Jawan went out there. He confronted Tagewan at the park today. Why don't you pick on somebody your own age. These kids were 14 or 15 years old at the time and Tagewan's 17, same as Jawan. That's when Jawan and Tagewan got into a physical fight and Jawan was the victor. And it didn't end with that night. As later on that year, which is now the summer of 2012, Jawan and his girlfriend are walking in South Sacramento and the two of them just gotten something to drink at a local convenience store. They now see Jackson. And when he sees them, he immediately goes up and tries to punch Jawan. These were unreported incidents. So it wasn't until we did the interviews that we really determined. Now that adds another layer, right? Another tick mark in the sense of, okay, well now this is really an ongoing thing. This isn't just a two years ago and done. This is becoming certainly something that has occurred on more than one occasion. Jawan didn't have any issues because he'd been gone for about a year. And it was after that that Jawan's girlfriend moved out of the area. And on the surface, it looks like the first chance that Jawan was back in town, it was Jackson who was ready to have the last word in this fight. So let's look at what this really is. It's a two year old fist fight where Jawan got the better of the other guy, this guy, Jackson. But it sounds like Jackson's been holding this grudge for those last two years. You don't want to say good to me. They have a strong person of interest just based on the similarities of the description of Jackson and the potential mode of which one is tied directly back to an alleged argument moments before the shots rang out. So I think that's a pretty good lead for Paul. And I agree. I agree with the lead, but now they're going to have to look for some hard evidence. So one of the things that we think about, remember, there was a very distinctive jacket that the shooter was wearing. So now let's see if investigators can link that jacket back to the sky, Jackson, who's been harboring a grudge for those last two years. And there's also another avenue to look into. Remember Jawan was shot while he was in a car with the window down. before shots were fired, one of the attackers went up to him, grabbed the wheel, punched Joanne in the face. Let me say this once again. He grabbed the wheel. A day later, our forensics folks processed the Cadillac. And in this particular case, we had some other good information that at least Joanne was seated within the vehicle. And so I was very hopeful that we might get a fingerprint or maybe DNA, something along those lines that might lead us to a suspect. In the low-end behold, investigators uncovered more than a fingerprint. I will tell you, sometimes it is better to be lucky than good, and I'll take it. But this particular case, we had both elements. So one thing to know about Lieutenant Paul Belly is that being a detective was definitely his calling in life. But it wasn't his first goal. So initially, I thought I wanted to be a pediatrician. And so that was the path I was kind of headed down. I hadn't really thought about law enforcement. I had a friend of mine that was always wanting to work towards that goal. And he told me about going on a ride along. I thought, oh, that sounds kind of cool. It would be interesting to see. And I went on a ride along with the Sacramento Police Department. It was pretty much hooked. I switched my major to a criminal justice. I thought that I wanted to maybe do something with forensics. You know, we both know what a huge role forensic science plays in solving crimes, especially homicides. So for him to be so dialed in and a seeker, that's great. You know, obviously all investigators get training. It's going to be the criminalists that are actually processing all this evidence. But it definitely is very cool that he actually understands the science of what they're doing. You know, I even think about it as a prosecutor. I end up in court. And I have to rely on my experts. Like, I've got a pretty good gist of it at this point because I've worked with them enough. But he actually knows it because he studied it. And in this case, examining digital imagery from surveillance tapes to latent prints lifted from the victim's car, this was the perfect case for Paul. As they're processing the Cadillac, they're thinking also what it is that they're told by the witnesses that the guy who leans in, you know, basically going to punch at Jawan, that they're actually hoping that he touched the car. We found essentially at the top driver's side pillar and partial, I believe, glass, you know, front windshield, is where we found a pomeprint and fingerprint. So if you picture somebody bracing themselves with their hand, in this case, likely the left hand on the car itself so that they can then semi-learn through the window and assault somebody through the window, that's essentially what we ended up with. So now that they have this pomeprint, the question will be, will those prints come back to match any prints they have in their system? Gosh, it was 10, maybe 20 days after the murder is when we got the hit on the print. It positively identified Tajwan Jackson. This is a massive, gigantic development in this case. But could that print have been left seconds before the shooting or days before the shooting? Remember, at the moment there is no science that would reveal that answer when a fingerprint was left. I look at it like if we're playing chess, like right now this is Czech, right? Because you can see it. You see the board and you see that you're closing in, but they're not there yet. I mean, just think about the things they don't have. They don't have the jacket. They don't have surveillance footage. They don't even yet know all the parties and exactly why this has all come about. Now you're going to work through, okay, well, whose vehicle is it? Where was the vehicle at? Did Tajwan work at a shop or a garage or would have had some sort of contact with that vehicle other than on that evening? The next step was to use the witnessed descriptions and evidence from the surveillance video and conduct some photo arrays or photo lineups. But those did not yield any results. We did some photo lineups with our surviving victims. They were unable to pick anybody. So you know, you don't have an ID of them being there. So while the identification process doesn't lead them anywhere, what else do they have? Remember, he can pursue looking for that jacket and how distinctive it was. But so even though they have the name and they now have something coming back to Jackson, that isn't going to equal probable cause for this case, which isn't going to equal a search warrant to go into his home and look for more. So I reached out to our gang unit and basically asked them if they could do some surveillance of Tajwan. And my hope was we could get some photographs of him wearing that particular jacket. You may be thinking it's game over with Jackson because a warrant may not be able to be obtained at this point. But you see, there was another angle. Jackson was on probation. And so you might be wondering, well, what does that have to do with this, right? Well, Paul knew exactly why that was going to be relevant because among his long list of previous jobs was being a probation assistant. And Paul knew he had the ability and most importantly, the legal right to conduct a probation search. That was something that we did on a regular basis in my crime suppression team. When someone is either on parole because they've been sentenced to prison and then they're let out or if they didn't have to serve any time being incarcerated at all and they're put on probation, well, the legal system puts basically these restrictions on you. And one of them is usually that, listen, while you're on probation or parole, at least under certain circumstances, we have the right at any time to come in and search your home or your person. So it kind of sidesteps that need for a search warrant if certain people fit into those categories. Jackson was on probation and was subject to those very conditions. In this particular case, Tégis was on probation and had a search clause as part of that probation, which allowed me to knock on his address of record, which is where we located him, and conduct a search of the common areas and his room. What it would not necessarily allow is removal of items. As they secure the home to make sure there are no firearms in the residence, officers see right there on the bed a jacket. When the officer comes out and says, hey, there's a very similar jacket to the video that you showed me lying on the bed, with actually a piece of male addressed to Tégis on Jackson lying on top of it. Well, now they have the jacket. And as the prosecutor, I'm going to tell you that that is my favorite piece of evidence, more than the pomperant. Even more if he had been actually identified by one of the guys, because it is that jacket that is so distinctive, and it really tells a story in and of itself. I was hoping for more of a gun than anything else, and finding that jacket was really almost better. While building his case, Paul knew that I deem the shooter from witness descriptions and the video was going to take some time, and while even everything was pointing towards Jackson, he needed more. Obviously, I'd been looking into him for quite some time, but had never contacted him as a tactical decision within the case. In this particular case, I wanted to hold off any contact with him until absolutely necessary. But now holding all these cards that Paul has amassed, now he decides to sit down with Tégis on Jackson and ask him if he's willing to speak with him and talk about the involvement between him, Joanne Howard, and eventually lead up to the events of that night. We ended up interviewing him that day as well about the crime. His essential demeanor was relatively calm. I mean, he was surprised, but it wasn't confrontational. And Jackson was unfazed by the question and denied any and all involvement. And basically what he said was this, I don't know what you're talking about. I wasn't there, I didn't do anything, and that's the gist of their conversation. He basically said that he wasn't there, has no idea what I'm talking about. Now we've talked about the term negative confession, which Anisega and I both believe is as strong as a defendant saying it was me. And here's why, when solid forensic evidence puts the defendant without question in a place that they say, nope, I've never been there, it proves that they are not being truthful. And I think, Anisega, let me know if you agree, that Jury's become less sympathetic to the defendants. It's interesting, I've never actually thought of it that way. I think as you're talking about it, what I think it does is that where you have a straight admission or a confession, well that's open to attack by the defense, left and right, you know, they can claim that they never said that or the police put their words in their mouth. But now you have this lie, right? Well, that's not the thing that the police are going to make up, right? Because you have to almost work backwards to put the pieces together and show the jury why that lie here in this case saying he wasn't there when the proof he was there with the pamperant, why it's so powerful. And I think what it does is it kind of tilts the head of the jurors that it really adds more ump to the credibility of the state's position about what those words really say. So let me put it out to all of you listening. If you were sitting on a jury and you knew through a negative confession that the defendant was lying, how would it make you feel about the defendant and potentially how you would judge them? Let us know on social. Well, it was more preferred in a sense that he said, no, I wasn't there. I have no idea what you're talking about. With the fingerprints and the surveillance video, the jacket and the motive, all of those things really kind of come together and really produce a better picture of who your suspect is. On March 4th of 2014, which is about three months after the crime, police arrested Tejan Jackson. But for Paul Belly, the investigation was not over. I always go into these cases with, okay, this is my suspect. Let me try to prove that suspect innocent. So what Paul's doing here is he's really taking the opposite approach. Not what evidence does he have that is showing that his suspect now defendant is guilty. But what if anything there is to show innocence or non-gilt? I think he's anticipating the opposition. What issues would a defendant's defense team raise in the trial? Did the investigators run through all of the possible scenarios, close the loop on any open issues or potential suspects other than the defendant in the case? And it also is such a sign of a great investigator. Because even when he has the guy in handcuffs basically, he's not going to be tunnel visioned even there. He's going to continue to make sure that he is right in his assessment of the case and the truth of the crime. I attempted throughout this investigation to try to determine if there was any way it wasn't him that was there. And so how does he do that in this case? Well, he does with what's always been one of my favorite types of evidence. Cell phone records to see if those cell phone records can pinpoint where it is that Jackson was or wasn't that night. And I wasn't able to find anything that would have placed him elsewhere or corroborate his story that he was at home. The prosecution faced a couple of challenges at trial, one being this. Investigators felt like they had the person who fired the gun, but Jackson wasn't the only person there that night. There were a lot of other associates who were involved in the attack, but who were they? They weren't able to find them. So, Anisee, get to you as a prosecutor. How difficult of an issue is that as you're proceeding in trial? It's not really a tough issue at trial, as far as I'm not worried about what the jury is going to do with these other people, because they're not on trial. And just like we always tell them whether we have other people under arrest or not, if they're not sitting in the courtroom with that, isn't who you're asked to decide on the guilt or non-gilt based of the evidence, you're not to consider it. But we'd let them know. But where I worry as a prosecutor is that there's other people involved that are still out there, well that makes me more fearful for my witnesses. I knew who his closer friends were, and actually one of them was arrested for a homicide a couple of years later by the Sacramento Police Department. I think he was the second shooter. They were pretty close to each other. I couldn't say that definitively. It was just a belief that I had. He matches his yellow description. And yet there's another obstacle at trial. Joanne's two friends, Terrence and Thomas, could not identify the shooter. And looking at this, I'm thinking the prosecutor will have to explain the fact that this is not uncommon. The interaction was just minutes. If anything, this goes to the credibility of these young men, right? They're not just willing to come in and point at the person who it's pretty obvious who's sitting at the defense table in most cases and say, yeah, that's the guy. They're saying, hey, we don't recognize him. But there's also another possibility because I've certainly had it with people that I did believe could make the identification that won't make it in court. And they don't because they are afraid for themselves or their family. So whether they just don't know or whether they are holding it back at the end of the day, it just isn't going to end up being any additional evidence for the jury to consider. And let's just add that the defendant's own mother would admit that at the time of the shooting, he owned a similar jacket and her son's hairstyle was long dreadlocks with the tips frosted a long color, which was consistent with the evidence. Very short deliberation, maybe two or three days. It wasn't significant period of time. The jury made the decision and they convicted Jackson of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to 25 years to life plus an additional and consecutive. So that means they don't run together 25 years to life for a firearm enhancement. A firearm enhancement, it's just another way for saying that they tack on an additional penalty under certain circumstances. So for example, here you commit a homicide, but you're using a gun, which is a firearm obviously. Well, now it's an additional charge, i.e. equaling an additional sentence if you're convicted of that too. Even though Jackson originally pled not guilty, in 2017 he filed an appeal to have the charge reduced from first degree, the second degree, and removed that element that this was a premeditated shooting. Essentially, he wanted to say that it wasn't premeditated and that the jury got it wrong, the first degree, and they go through and explain why. However, to do that, he did admit that indeed he was the actual shooter. In this particular case, I was happy that he, as part of that appeal, had to admit that he was the shooter. You know, that doesn't happen all the time. These cases go and they just deny any responsibility or culpability. And we will note that that appeal was ultimately denied. This episode is called the last word for a number of reasons. They are the literal last words that Thomas heard from Jackson before Jackson shot Joanne. There's also this ongoing altercation between these two, between Jackson and Joanne, for years. And Jackson having to quote unquote the last word in that feud by now taking Joanne's life. And we'd like to think that it's the justice system and the verdict that holds those people accountable that commit these crimes, that is actually the last word, at least in a criminal case. He had a brother who tragically, not long after this, took his own life as a result of Joanne's murder. You know, I think this uposition that everybody had, that he was so overcome with grief that he ultimately decided to take his own life. Think about this. On average, each murder leaves behind seven to ten close relatives. The number of individuals affected is far greater than the number of direct homicide victims. The pain is far reaching and in some cases, just too hard to bear. You know, there's so many different motives in homicide, but unfortunately this one is not a rare one, certainly not what I've seen over the years. And I always, in my head, always refer to them in a way of like the nonsense homicides. And there's not in any way making light of the crime, but it's because of the motive. You know, it's not a crime of passion. It's not a robbery or for money. It is because of this, you know, nonsense of in this case, you know, who got the better of who during a fistfight or who didn't like what the other one said or did or the way that they looked. And at the end, there is a life lost because of that. The devastation to so many because of something like this. The impact is so far reaching over just nonsense, but what it does in the end is you come back to those the last word. And that is that Jawan Howard's family will never hear so many words of what they should have. And that is because of this nonsense. Jackson executed him. Cune in next week for another new episode of Anatomy of Murder. Anatomy of Murder is an audio chuck original. Produced and created by Weinberger Media and for Zeddie Media. Ashley Flowers and Submit David are executive producers. So what do you think Chuck? Do you approve? No.