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Etheria Verdell JACKSON





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: December 3, 1985
Date of arrest: 6 days after
Date of birth: March 7, 1959
Victim profile: Linton Moody, 64
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: Duval County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on August 8, 1986

The United States Court of Appeals
For the Eleventh Circuit

opinion 04-15952

Florida Supreme Court

opinion 69197 opinion 75846 & 78909

DC# 072847
DOB: 03/07/59

Fourth Judicial Circuit, Duval County, Case # 85-12620
Sentencing Judge, Trial: The Honorable L. Page Haddock, Jr.
Attorneys, Trial: Alan Chipperfield & Terry Sopp – Assistant Public Defenders
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Paula Saunders – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals:  David Gemmer – CCRC-M

Date of Offense: 12/03/85

Date of Sentence: 08/08/86

Circumstances of Offense:

The victim, 64-year-old Linton Moody, owned a retail furniture business in Jacksonville, Florida, with his brother, Wendell.  Linton was working at the store until the early afternoon of December 2, 1985. 

When Linton did not show up for work the next day, Wendell called the police to report his brother missing.  Officer Godbee found Linton’s body rolled in a piece of carpet in the rear compartment of Linton’s station wagon on December 5th.  Evidence that was found with the body included the victim’s calling card box and briefcase. 

Linda Riley, Etheria Jackson’s live-in girlfriend and the mother of one of his children, reported the murder on the same day that the body was found. 

At trial, Riley testified that she had bought a washing machine on an installment plan from the victim.  Linton came by her residence to collect the monthly payment on December 3rd after he cashed a $4,000 check that he used to make change for his clients.  Jackson, as well as Riley’s two children, was present when Linton arrived. 

Linton gave Riley a receipt after cashing her government check, but before he could leave, Jackson assaulted the victim and held a knife to his throat.  Riley also said that Jackson told her to take Linton’s wallet and keys after Jackson had forced the victim to the floor. 

While the victim pleaded for his life, Jackson bound and gagged the victim before choking him to unconsciousness with a belt.  When Linton regained consciousness, Jackson used a cast on his forearm to strike the victim’s face.  Jackson straddled the victim’s body before stabbing him numerous times in the chest.

Riley assisted Jackson in disposing of the body by hiding it in a carpet and putting it in the victim’s station wagon.  Jackson drove the vehicle to an alternate location and abandoned it, where Officer Godbee discovered the station wagon two days later.  Riley reported that Jackson returned to the house with two men approximately 45 minutes after he left with the body.  When Jackson returned, he asked Riley to inject his arm with cocaine.

Testimony was also given at trial by one of the two men who returned with Jackson to the house.  The man stated that he and his friend were flagged down while they were driving by a male wearing a cast on his forearm.  This man was later identified as Jackson.  Jackson inquired as to whether the men knew where to obtain cocaine.  When they answered in the affirmative, he offered to buy them a tank of gas by stating, “I’ll fill your tank, I have money all over, I just hit a sweet lick.” 

The witness later stated that Jackson pulled out bundles of money from his pockets.  Upon purchasing the cocaine, the witness reported that they went back to Jackson’s place, and Jackson had his girlfriend inject cocaine into his arm. 

The autopsy established that the victim suffered from bruises on his face, head, and neck.  The victim also had a shallow slash along his neck, bruises on his kneecaps, and rug-burn on his left elbow.  The victim was stabbed seven times in the upper left chest area, which caused massive internal bleeding and was the cause of death. 

The lack of blood on the lower extremities was indicative that the perpetrator sat astride the victim during the assault.  The victim had bruises on the neck consistent with strangulation caused by either a forearm, or maybe a broad belt.

In a December 9th interview, Jackson claimed that Riley was the perpetrator of the murder and that he was not at the scene of the crime when it occurred.  He further claimed that Riley was having an affair with Linton while Jackson was in prison and that it was this affair that had prompted the murder.  Jackson’s mother presented testimony that he visited her on December 8th and provided her with three varying versions of the killing.  At least two of these accounts placed Jackson himself at the scene of the murder. 

A search warrant was obtained for the cast on Jackson’s forearm.  His cast was examined at a hospital for traces of blood, but none was found.  One of the detectives who was at the hospital testified that Jackson made statements suggesting that the detective “had him like a hawk,” and Jackson also stated that he “had the opportunity.”  When the detective responded with the suggestion that Jackson still had the opportunity to come clean and tell the truth, the detective stated that Jackson responded by stating, “Not really, I have to go with what I told you, I can’t change my story now.”

Expert testimony was presented at trial, which matched Jackson’s fingerprints to those fingerprints found on the calling card box in the back of the victim’s station wagon.

Trial Summary:

12/19/85          Defendant indicted with one the following:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder

12/23/85          Defendant pled not guilty to the charge

06/20/86          Defendant was found guilty of First-Degree Murder

07/11/86          The jury recommended Death by a vote of 7-5

08/08/86          Defendant sentenced as follows:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder – Death

Case Information:

A Direct Appeal was filed with the Florida Supreme Court on 08/21/86.  Issues that were raised included whether the trial court erred in limiting the cross-examination of Riley concerning her present dating relationships, and whether the trial court erred in allowing the state to introduce evidence that Jackson had been incarcerated prior to this offense. 

The Florida Supreme Court found all of the claims either harmless or without merit and affirmed the conviction and sentence of Death on 05/05/88. 

A Petition for Writ of Certiorari was filed with the United States Supreme Court on 10/31/88 and denied on 01/23/89. 

A Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus was filed with the Florida Supreme Court on 04/16/90. 

A 3.850 Motion was filed with the Circuit Court on 09/05/90 and denied on 03/25/91. 

A 3.850 Appeal was filed with the Florida Supreme Court on 11/08/91.  Issues that were raised included whether the trial court erred in not granting a full evidentiary hearing for all of the claims, including the Department of Health Rehabilitative Services’ refusal to disclose evidence contained in its files relative to Jackson’s and Riley’s children, and that the trial counsel was ineffective.

The Florida Supreme Court denied both the Habeas Corpus and the affirmed the circuit court’s denial of the 3.850 in a joint opinion on 09/09/93. On 06/28/94, a motion was issued to recall the mandate of the 09/09/93 opinion, but this motion was denied on 01/26/95. 

A Petition for the Writ of Habeas Corpus was filed with the Florida Supreme Court on 09/30/92 and denied on 01/04/93.

A Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus was filed with the United States District Court on 05/18/94. The case was closed on 08/08/02 pending the Bottoson and King decision and was reopened on 06/26/03.  The USDC denied the petition on 12/15/03. 

A 3.851 Motion was filed with the Circuit Court on 07/08/03 and was denied on 06/23/05.   

A Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Appeal was filed with the United States Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit on 02/27/04 and was dismissed as untimely on 04/07/04. 

A 3.851 Motion Appeal was filed with the Florida Supreme Court on 07/22/05 that is pending. 

A Petition for Writ of Certiorari was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on 07/13/06 and is pending.



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