MEMPHIS, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Friday’s Tennessee Supreme Court decision to overturn the murder conviction of Noura Jackson in the 2005 brutal stabbing of her mother, Jennifer Jackson, was anticipated by Lisa C. Hickman who has followed the case for nearly 10 years and covered it in “Stranger to the Truth,” [IndieAuthor LLC, 2013]. Jackson was first sentenced to 20 years nine months in March 2009 for stabbing her mother, an investment banker, 50 times in their home.
“I believe the decision is fitting based on arguments by her defense team at her trial and in pre- and post-trial motions and appeals,” Hickman said, “as well as through my personal involvement in Noura’s story from the beginning.”
“One example of prosecutorial misconduct involved the district attorney’s omission of a third statement by key witness Andrew Hammack, friend of the accused and “person of interest,” according to detectives. The statement--which offers a detailed account of his activities that evening and whereabouts during the presumed time of the murder--was revealed only after Jackson was convicted.
“In his third statement Hammack said he was at a movie theatre just blocks from the Jackson home the night of the murder. He was the last person Noura called from her home line and cell phone before she said she discovered her mother’s body in the predawn hours of June 5, 2005.”
The Court noted, “This separate and flagrant violation of Defendant’s constitutional rights also merits our consideration and independently entitles Defendant to a new trial.”
“Further, if one believes a fair trial includes a defendant’s constitutional right not to testify,” Hickman said, “Prosecutor Amy Weirich’s closing argument blew right past that protection, becoming a lightning rod for criticism during appeals. The prosecutor crossed the line when she directly addressed Noura, and in a loud and insistent tone, demanded the defendant ‘Just tell us where you were! That’s all we’re asking Noura!’ The use of plural pronouns really put the closing argument over the top, suggesting that the entire courtroom expected Noura to answer, and the jury as well.”
The Court concluded Weirich’s comment and argument “implicitly encouraged the jury to view the defendant’s silence as a tactic admission of guilt.”
Noura Jackson was 17 when her father was fatally shot and his death remains a mystery. Her best friend died in a car accident shortly before her mother’s death. Despite 810 crime scene photos, 392 exhibits and over 40 witnesses, there was neither a murder weapon nor DNA evidence presented linking Noura Jackson to the crime.
For more information about “Stranger to the Truth," Lisa Hickman, and to email the author, visit strangertothetruth.com.