UPDATED: Suspect Arrested in 1992 Murder of Toddler | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

UPDATED: Suspect Arrested in 1992 Murder of Toddler

Updated with new information

[verbatim from AG's office] Jackson, MS-Attorney General Jim Hood today confirmed that an arrest has been made in the 16-year-old murder of a 3-year-old girl in Noxubee County. Albert Johnson (age 51), of Brooksville, MS, was arrested on Monday, February 4, 2008, by investigators with the Attorney General's Office. He is charged with capital murder in the death of 3-year-old Christine Jackson in Noxubee County on May 3, 1992. The little girl was taken from her home in the middle of the night and was raped and murdered. Johnson made his initial appearance on February 5 before Noxubee County Justice Court Judge Dirk Dickson, and was denied bond. Johnson is being held in the Chickasaw County jail.

"We became involved in this case at the request of The Innocence Project," said Attorney General Jim Hood. "We as prosecutors have a duty to protect the innocent as well as prosecute the guilty."

Assisting the Attorney General's Office in this case was the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations and the Sheriff's Offices in Noxubee and Chickasaw Counties.

As with all cases, the charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

New information:
Attorneys for Levon Brooks, who was convicted in 1992 of the rape and murder of the toddler, filed papers today to vacate his conviction and dismiss the case against him. Brooks, as well as Kennedy Brewer, who was also wrongfully convicted of the murder and rape of a 3-year-old child in 1995, could be exonerated as early as Thursday.

[verbatim from the Innocence Project]... A hearing is set for Thursday morning in Noxubee County. Kennedy Brewer, who was wrongfully convicted in one of the cases and sentenced to death, will appear in court on a motion to dismiss the case against him, which would make him the first person in Mississippi to be exonerated through post-conviction DNA testing. Papers filed today on behalf of Levon Brooks, who was convicted in the other case, seek to also vacate his conviction and dismiss the case. It is possible that Brooks' case will also be heard Thursday, and both Brooks and Brewer could leave the hearing exonerated. The Innocence Project (which is affiliated with Cardozo School of Law) represents both men.

"Both of these men are innocent, and they should be fully exonerated very quickly," Innocence Project Co-Director Peter Neufeld said. "In two decades of working on these cases, we have never seen a more stark and troubling example of a rush to judgment at the hands of notorious forensic analysts who conspired to commit fraud. The system wasn't just broken in these cases – different elements within the system actually conspired to convict two innocent men of heinous crimes, while the actual perpetrator remained at large. These cases should haunt Mississippi and the nation, and they should lead to a top-to-bottom review of how the state is investigating and prosecuting cases."

Read the entire Innocence Project release here (PDF, 48 KB)

Previous Comments

ID
98341
Comment

This is a confusing press statement. It is totally unclear why the Innocence Project asked Hood to get involved -- they're using trying to free someone. But we'll report back when we know.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-02-07T16:18:21-06:00
ID
98342
Comment

That's confusing to me, too. I don't think they would work on the suspect's behalf that quickly.

Author
golden eagle
Date
2008-02-07T16:22:55-06:00
ID
98343
Comment

This is in reference to a case I mentioned in The Case for Innocence last January regarding Kennedy Brewer. Brewer's case was reported in this New York Times last September. DNA evidence proved that Brewer, who spent 15 years on death row, was not the killer, but prosecutors changed their theory of the crime, and they rearrested Brewer saying that he had assisted the murderer instead. They had intended to retry him, but not on capital charges. More as we know it.

Author
Ronni_Mott
Date
2008-02-07T16:53:54-06:00
ID
98344
Comment

Man. And all these people are obsessing about civil and tort cases. People, it's our criminal system that we should really be concerned about. Imagine 15 years on death row for a crime you didn't do!?! Let's hope this is the lead story in The Clarion-Ledger tomorrow.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-02-07T16:57:45-06:00
ID
98345
Comment

Maybe I'll find out what's going on for everyone since I know the lawyers who handled the case for Brewer, in Mississippi and New York. I've met the child's mother too. I was told this would happen yesterday but I didn't believe it. As one of the original lawyers in my office who worked on the case of Kennedy Brewer, I can tell you that the facts of this case are chilling. I'm so glad they found the real killer.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2008-02-07T17:43:38-06:00
ID
98346
Comment

Fascinating development. I posted about this story in September. As usual, the New York Times was condescending, probably because Sheila Dewan never tires of sneering at simple folks down south.

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2008-02-07T20:47:40-06:00
ID
98347
Comment

Information from the Innocence Project has been added to the original story. Apparently, two different men were arrested for two crimes with almost identical M.O.s.

Author
Ronni_Mott
Date
2008-02-08T12:29:44-06:00
ID
98348
Comment

It's good news to see two innocent men walk free. Few people want to believe that innocent people get convicted. Hopefully these two cases will get adequate publicity and appropriate meaures legislatively and otherwise will be taken to make sure it can't easily happen again. I'm not sure I know of an event worse than going to jail branded as a child molester and killer when you know you're innocent.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2008-02-08T12:40:19-06:00
ID
98349
Comment

OK, that does make since as to why the Innocence Project was a part of this. I figured that someone may've been arrested for it and was wrongly suspected or convicted. Thanks for clearing that up, Ronni.

Author
golden eagle
Date
2008-02-08T12:40:57-06:00
ID
98350
Comment

Let's hope this is the lead story in The Clarion-Ledger tomorrow. It's not the lead story, butit's in there.

Author
golden eagle
Date
2008-02-08T12:43:51-06:00
ID
98351
Comment

My reliable sources are telling me that there are bills pending in the legislature to compensate exonerees (SB 3010,3011), create a taskforce to develop a plan for collection, preservation and testing of biological materials (SB 2619, HB 817), create a crime lab satelite study committee that would use institutions of higher learning to expand use and function of the crime lab (SB 2261), and create a public defender pilot projects so better trained and better funded public defenders can provide the constitutionally mandated representation to our innocent clients (HB 1015). Please help by calling your legislators and committee chairmans. Peace, no more crimes and let's stay out of jail.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2008-02-08T13:12:25-06:00
ID
98352
Comment

Ray, I hope these bills pass, but in Mississippi, with our current legislature... I am not hopeful. I am thinking the idea will be, "we freed them, what else do they want" "They shouldn't have been accused in the first place, they did something to get accused" "We (tax payers) did take care of them for ____ number of years" I have not reviewed the bills mentioned, but as a fellow attorney, Ray, you know our crime lab is a joke, but are rarely if ever called to task

Author
AGamm627
Date
2008-02-10T00:21:23-06:00

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

comments powered by Disqus