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Donald Lee JACKSON Jr.

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Kidnapping - Robbery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: October 9, 1986
Date of birth: August 3, 1956
Victim profile: Michelle Seagraves, 22
Method of murder: Shooting (.41 handgun) - Strangulation with a strap
Location: Franklin County, Indiana, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on June 7, 1988. Commuted to life in prison on August 19, 1992
 
 
 
 
 
 

JACKSON, DONALD LEE, JR. # 54

OFF DEATH ROW SINCE 08-19-92

DOB: 08-03-1956
DOC#: 881974 White Male

Franklin County Circuit Court
Judge Eugene A. Stewart

Venued from Dearborn County

Prosecutor: James D. Humphrey

Defense: Terrance W. Richmond, Ronald Richmer

Date of Murder: October 9, 1986

Victim(s): Michelle Seagraves W/F/22 (No relationship to Jackson)

Method of Murder: shooting .41 handgun; strangulation with a strap

Summary: Michelle Seagraves was kidnapped as she was getting into her car in an apartment complex parking lot in Columbus, Ohio.

Witnesses identified Stuart Kennedy as driving Seagraves' Ford Grenada while holding a woman down in the seat. Other witnesses identified a Corvette following the Ford Grenada from Columbus to Moores Hill, Indiana. The license plate of the Corvette showed it registered to Jackson.

On the same day, the Peoples National Bank in Moores Hill was robbed by 2 men matching the description of Jackson and Kennedy. The Ford Grenada was identified as the getaway car.

Jackson was arrested at his home in Columbus, Ohio as he was getting into the Corvette. Officers recovered $5000 in cash, a .45 handgun, and a submachine gun from the car. Jackson gave a complete confession, directing Officers to the body of Seagraves.

An autopsy showed she had been strangled with a strap still on her neck, and shot once in the back of the neck through her head. Jackson also directed Officers to the bloody clothing worn by Kennedy and Jackson discarded in a dumpster.

Conviction: Murder, Felony-Murder(Robbery), Felony-Murder(Kidnapping), Robbery (A Felony), Kidnapping (A Felony)

Sentencing: June 7, 1988 (Death Sentence, 50 years, 50 years consecutive)

Aggravating Circumstances: b (1) Robbery, b (1) Kidnapping

Mitigating Circumstances: uncertainty as to triggerman

On January 25, 1993 Franklin County Circuit Court Judge Eugene A. Stewart sentenced Jackson to 60 years imprisonment for Murder in compliance with Indiana Supreme Court Opinion setting aside death sentence and mandating a term of years; to run consecutively with 50 year sentence for Robbery (A Felony), and 50 year sentence for Kidnapping (A Felony), for a total sentence of 160 years imprisonment.

 
 

Dad determined to keep daughter's killer in prison

One of pair who abducted, murdered 23-year-old is seeking clemency

By Alan Johnson - The Columbus Dispatch

Thursday,  December 11, 2008

Ed Gray talks willingly about the daughter he lost, answering questions without hesitation about her life, death and the infant son she left behind.

But when Gray holds up his hand and becomes silent, it's time for the questions to stop. He can take no more and must retreat into his private grief.

The West Side man is speaking out 22 years after Michelle Marie Gray Seagraves, 23, was kidnapped outside her home, taken to a small town in Indiana and murdered, because one of her killers is seeking clemency.

Donald Lee Jackson Jr., 52, formerly of Columbus, has petitioned Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels to commute part of his 160-year sentence, making him eligible for parole -- not soon, but eventually. A public hearing will be held in Indianapolis on the clemency request on Jan. 6 followed by a meeting of the Indiana Parole Board on Jan. 20.

A second man, Stuart S. Kennedy, 48, of West Chester, Ohio, also was convicted in Seagraves' abduction and murder, but he has not requested clemency. Both men originally were sentenced to death, but the Indiana Supreme Court overturned the death sentences. Kennedy is serving a 118-year sentence.

Earl Coleman, assistant to the parole board, told The Dispatch that Jackson has a "very slim chance" of being granted clemency given the severity of the crime and length of his sentence. His first clemency request was rejected in 2007. But as in Ohio, Indiana governors have unlimited authority in granting clemency once they receive a non-binding recommendation from the parole board.

Gray is taking no chances.

"I am for the death penalty and always have been," Gray said. However, because Jackson isn't going to be executed, Gray wants him to die behind bars, not out on the street. He is urging friends, neighbors and anyone who will write to send Indiana corrections officials letters opposing Jackson's clemency.

"I just want to get the word out," he said.

The first news that Seagraves was missing and possibly kidnapped appeared in a short story inside The Dispatch on Oct. 10, 1986. Within a few days, however, the abduction and murder of the single mother of a 2-year-old son was making grim headlines:

Murder victim had bright hopes

Police later confirmed that Jackson and Kennedy cruised West Side neighborhoods that day in search of a car to steal to use in a bank robbery. When they saw Seagraves outside her Whitethorne Avenue apartment, she was warming up her blue Ford Granada and her infant son, James, was still inside their home. Kennedy shoved her into the vehicle and took off.

With Jackson following him in his white Corvette, Kennedy drove 135 miles to Moores Hill, Ind., a small town 30 miles west of Cincinnati that he had previously visited. In a wooded area a mile outside town, Seagraves was bound, beaten with a rock, strangled and shot several times in the back of the head.

Using Seagraves' car, the duo robbed the Peoples National Bank in Moores Hill, getting away with $88,527. They ditched the stolen vehicle and returned to Ohio in Kennedy's Corvette.

Although the point of stealing a vehicle was to have a less noticeable getaway car, the white Corvette was their downfall anyway. Several Moores Hill residents spotted the sports car and reported the Ohio license plate to Indiana authorities.

Jackson was arrested 24 hours later at his home in Columbus; Kennedy was picked up near Cincinnati.

In 1992, the Indiana Supreme Court overturned both death sentences, essentially ruling it couldn't be determined who Seagraves' actual killer was.

"We just couldn't believe it," Gray said. "This whole thing tore our family apart on both sides. It devastated us." The slain woman's mother, Charlene, died of cancer in 1997.

Coleman, the Indiana parole official, said even if Jackson is given clemency, it would only cut his sentence down to about 60 years, potentially making him eligible for parole in 20 years or so, given time off for good behavior, obtaining a college degree and other factors.

"Many of these guys are facing very long sentences," Coleman said. "To them, clemency is a lot like buying a lottery ticket. They're thinking about all the good things that might happen and waiting for Saturday night."

 
 


Donald Lee Jackson Jr.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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