Per Journal News, Delores “DeeDee” Jackson has been found guilty of murder and tampering with evidence for the the stabbing death of a former neighbor last summer.
Jackson, 72, of Grant Circle in Hamilton, began crying and covered her face when the verdict was read at about 8:45 p.m. Thursday in Butler County Common Pleas Judge Keith Spaeth’s courtroom.
The jury took just more than four hours to find Jackson guilty as charged for killing 56-year-old Diana Ross.
The defense and prosecution agreed there is no doubt Jackson fatally stabbed Ross, but the defense said it was in self-defense.
Spaeth sentenced Jackson immediately to 15 years to life for the murder charge and 36 months for the tampering with evidence charge.
During the four-day trial, Jackson admitted to stabbing Ross both in a police interrogation tape and on the witness stand, but said she acted in self defense after being knocked out of her chair by Ross, who she said continued to attack her on the ground.
“I didn’t mean to kill nobody,” the 5-foot-tall defendant told the jury Wednesday. She said she was trying to get the knife that was resting on top of her fanny pack out of the way after Ross dove on her.
Jackson admitted that after seeing Ross stabbed, she took the knife, ran home, cleaned off the blood and hid it in a dresser.
She also said she placed a decoy knife on the porch so police wouldn’t find the knife she used.
During closing arguments, prosecutors pointed out Jackson’s numerous versions of the incident.
“Ask yourself, how many versions of one event can a person come up with,” Assistant Prosecutor Patrick Denier said during closing statements.
Denier said during the interrogation tape, Jackson told detectives “she went inside the fanny pack and came up with a knife.”
“She changed her story and then developed selective memory loss,” Denier said pointing to Jackson’s testimony that her memory is not as good since hitting her head on the cement when Ross pushed her out of her chair.
There is no evidence to justify the defendant’s use of a knife in the circumstances, Denier said, adding Ross did not have a weapon.
Defense attorney David Brewer also took shots at the four versions of the night Ross died presented by the prosecution witnesses.
Brewer said witnesses did say Ross could be argumentative and even said, “I am going to beat this old bitch’s ass,” referring to Jackson. He told the jury that according to the county coroner’s office, Ross had a blood alcohol level of .295 and the time of her death and had marijuana in her system.
During his closing arguments, Brewer also put on evidence gloves and picked up the gold and purple folding knife that killed Ross. He demonstrated — while lying on his back in front of the jury box — that the two wounds on Ross are consistent with the trajectory of the knife from someone who is on their back, not standing up swiping.