Family asks for life sentence

Victims’ relatives want prosecutor to drop death penalty.
Jessica Cuffman
Oct 2, 2013


The family of a mother and two children slain in their Sandusky home last year want prosecutors to abandon the death penalty in the accused killer’s trial.

Instead, they want Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter to offer Curtis Clinton a plea deal: life in prison without parole. They believe this would avoid a lengthy trial scheduled to start at month’s end.

Clinton, 42, is charged with aggravated murder in the Sept. 8, 2012, slaying of Heather Jackson, 23, and her two children, Celina, 3, and Wayne IV, 20 months. All three were found strangled to death in Jackson’s John Street home. Jackson’s naked body was found between a mattress and boxspring, while the children’s clothed bodies were found in a bedroom closet.

Two days later, police arrested Clinton. He was also charged in an unrelated crime — the alleged rape of a 17-year-old Clyde girl — that happened about a week before the homicides.

Autopsy results later led prosecutors to charge Clinton with an additional count of rape, for allegedly assaulting Celina the night of her death.

Jackson’s family and friends have diligently attended every court hearing in the case. Jury selection is scheduled to start Monday and last about three weeks, with the criminal trial set for Oct. 28.

“The trial gets closer and closer, and it’s really stressing me out,” said Jody Lynch, Heather’s mother. “I don’t want to hear what he’s done. But I have to go.”

Lynch and her husband, Herbert, and Heather’s brother, Nick Fee, have made it clear they want Baxter to offer Clinton life in prison without parole.

But Baxter has stopped returning their calls, Lynch said. “We haven’t talked to him at all,” she said. “It’s been months.”

In response to inquires from the Register about his conversations with Heather’s parents, Baxter issued a statement explaining he has “seriously considered” input from Heather’s parents, siblings and the father of her children.

View the entire statement by downloading the pdf below

“Taking this into consideration, as well as other aggravating factors, the state is moving forward with the trial,” Baxter said. He issued the statement after getting permission from Erie County Common Pleas Court Judge Tygh Tone, who has issued a gag order in the case.

Heather’s family has previously talked to the father of Jackson’s children, Wayne Jackson III, 26, as well as his family, Lynch said.

Calls to Wayne Jackson III’s family on Tuesday went unreturned.

In prison, Clinton will not survive, Lynch said. “I know he won’t make it in there. And then he’ll suffer like my kids suffered, instead of going into a room and getting a shot, living like us,” she said.

Erie County taxpayers have already covered the bill for him to remain in jail for too long, she said.

“There is no justice for me. God forgive me, I want him to suffer,” she said. “I have nightmares every day, of my little one running away from him and trying to get away.”

Lynch and other family members have started an online petition, at, to collect signatures in support of dropping the death penalty in the case.



In all due respect to the family but I agree with Baxter on this on ! DEATH to this monster !




I agree. I know the family is weakened and heartbroken, but Baxter needs to move forward with this. There are more family members than heathers parents and brother. There is no better treatment for this monster than to lock him up in a cage on death row.

Licorice Schtick

It's cheaper to put him away for life than to execute him. If we continue to execute criminals, then we should do it more expediently. Otherwise, just ban the death penalty so we can be spared the aggravation of constant debate about it.


I don't want to see this family suffer any more than they already have, but they might want to take into consideration the fact that if he only gets life in prison, he will probably be in segregation, away from other inmates, so no justice will be served in prison....for whatever reason these days, the prisons are keeping high profile, disgusting people away from other inmates just so they won't be killed in prison....I say the family Needs to make a plea that he be sentenced to life in prison with the condition that he is in general population!...That would be a sure fire way to get the justice that is deserved!


Since high school, I have been against the death penalty, but in this case, I am all for it.


If my family went through that, I would move Heaven AND Hell to make him die. It may not be politically correct. But what's Life in prison going to do? Nothing except , gym facilities , library.

Of course he could do what the monster in Cleveland did, and do it himself.

IN this particular case, the wishes of the Father ( ex ? husband) of the two MINOR children bears MORE weight than anyone.

I suggest that people re- read the last part of that statement better.

Kottage Kat

Praying for the Jackson family
They have been friends since 1965 and have had their share of heartache
May they know peace in their decisions
Love you all


OK, life sentence in a darkened cell without food or water.


Does life in prison really mean life or would he someday be released to kill again as he has been in the past?


This punk will never see the light of day outside of the razor wire. Even if he does get the death penalty you're looking at anywhere from 6-20 years before the needle hits his vein depending on how many appeals his dirtbag attorney's file over the years.


attorneys. no apostrophe in plural words. apostrophes show possession.


You should also begin a sentence with a CAPITAL letter Mr. English Languange.


political grandstanding??? or Baxter doing the right thing? Honestly I'm not sure of which one.


I say just put him in a room alone with Heathers brother for 10 minutes. No questions asked. Then the monster would get exactly what he deserves!


According to the actual statement , Mr. Baxter is following the wishes of the two children's father.

Mr. Jackson's wishes takes precedence over any other family members at this point.


Actually, maybe YOU should try re-reading the pdf file, because it did not state what her ex-husband's view was at all, it just said that he, as well as her family members, had opinions on how it should be handled, and then goes on to state that they are moving forward with the trial!.....It does NOT say anything about his opinion over ruling anyone elses, and it does not even state what his opinion is!....I say Erie county needs to take Clinton ALL the way to the death chamber!!!...I understand that the family finds a trial will be too hard to handle, but just don't go to the trial...let the county call the family and give them the good news that they gave him the DEATH penalty!!!!!


I'm NOT going to copy and paste. Pay attention to after the word "LIKEWISE". It doesn't have to actually state it ... It's pretty clear the way it's worded or MAYBE YOU'RE not very good at reading between the lines.

Don't take everything so DAMN literal!

And yeah, I do agree with the DEATH PENALTY! Read my first comment.


The only point that I was trying to make was the fact that the pdf file did NOT specifically state what her husbands wishes or opinions were, and that it also in no way stated that his opinion over rules the family's. I commented in response to your comments because you posted two of them that basically say they are only going with his wishes because his wishes outweighs the family's. There is absolutely nothing in that pdf file that says anything like that. Likewise means "also," so Mr. Baxter was simply saying that her husband was "also" consulted about his opinions, and that with other aggravating factors considered, they are still moving forward with a trial. I am very good at reading, but I just don't fill in the blanks when I read something, I take what is said literally, not "between the lines." You COULD be right, her husband could be the one who wishes for this to go to trial, but my only point was that that was not specifically stated in the statement from Mr. Baxter.


I know this has had to be rough on the family , But the fact of the matTer is , is that Baxter is speaking for the victims as well as the family and if he goes along with what the family wants , what will happen if and when this happens again ? .Its time to do what is right and speak for Heather as well as her children , thats what Baxter is doing , And besides whats to say that if he gets life instead of death , whats that say to the public ? What dont worry about it , if you kill someone in Erie county , you will get life in prision , but you will live , You are giving rights to someone that has taken someone esles rights away , and without a trial , Whats fair about that ?
Not to mention , who is to say how long he will live , you know all know they arent going to put him in general populition {sorry about the spelling} .
There is to much killing going on and someone needs to take a stand and say you kill someone , we will kill you . PLAIN AND SIMPLE


I understand the family has suffered enough. Things can never be changed what has happened. Life without the chance of parole is unjust for a monster like this. I've heard stories of people going to church on Sunday, then going downtown for a hanging. Certain cases such as this one, would be a perfect thing. I could guarantee you one thing, it would change how this effects the criminals that witness this. More death sentences need to be handed down, forget all the pleas and make these express check out. One appeals, ya lose your outta here. Not 30 years later, there's NO justice in that at all.


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

Pterocarya frax...

"Capital punishment is the most premeditated of murders."
-Albert Camus, French philosopher

"Society may protect itself without putting a human to death as it would a wild animal. Since we believe each person has a soul, and is capable of achieving salvation, life in prison is now an alternative to the death penalty."
-Richard Viguerie and Brent Bozell, Tea Party supporters


As a mother I can sympathize with this mother/grandmother. I think I would have to leave town during the trial. I too would not want to know the gory details of what that monster did to my babies, but I also would want him to die. I feel so sorry for Heather's mom. My prayers are with her. This case has haunted me so much. I think I would like to witness his death although it would be too sweet of a way to die. I want to see him tortured.


I don't personally know Nick or what he does or doesn't do, but what that monster did to his sister, neice, and nephew, I can only imagine the hatred he has deep inside and I would like to see him unleash it on Clinton. Its only fair.


Huronguy.....this is NOT about Heather's brother!!!...This is about a monster, a person without a SOUL, that took three beautiful lives!!!....Nothing Clinton did is justifiable by badmouthing the family members that have endured the pain from all of this!!! And for the people who are against the death penalty, would you still feel the same if this was your daughter, sister, wife, children, grandchildren????...People who are against the death penalty are probably the same people who whine and cry about having their taxes pay for other people to live and all don't want children to be fed with food stamps because it comes out of YOUR taxes, but you are willing to pay for this MONSTER to live the rest of his natural life in prison!?!?!....Prison is too good of a place for him, he needs to go straight to the table and meet his demise in He**!!!....What he did to Heather and her babies is beyond sick, and to just think, they would all still be here if this worthless piece of crap would have been sentenced to life in prison or the death penalty the first time he killed, in which he only received a light sentence for gagging, binding her hands and feet and submerging her in the bathtub face down!!!....This scumbag shouldn't even be able to breath the same air as we do!..To Heather's family...PLEASE reconsider what you are asking because he will have it good in prison...he will NOT be in general population with other inmates to take care of him, he will be protected by our a** backwards laws...he will live, eat, breath and enjoy the rest of his life with TV priveledges, weight rooms, and three hot meals a day....Heather and her babies will never have any of that again....PLEASE, make him pay...and if it were my family members, I would be reserving the seats right now to watch this monster be executed!!!!

Julie R.

No way does this pure evil piece of humanity deserve to spend the rest of his worthless life in prison.

The Answer Person

We need more executions, not fewer.

2cents's picture

Ha! You best ask the tax payer that would fund this guy for the next 40 years if they want life or death.


I wonder if everyone knows that the prison system has one of the greatest health insurance one can ever have. Free eye care, free dental, they'll even get you glasses and dentures if needed, in fact they will do their best to keep you alive, just so you'll die of old age. If the inmates on death role they will keep them alive the best they can, only to strap him to a table at a later date...Just doesnt seem fair now does it.....


You are right Lug, it's not fair at all!!....I sure wish we could change our laws so that when someone commits such a grisly crime such as this, they be put to death the exact same way they took someone else's life!!....That would probably deter these scum a lot more than just letting them keep getting away with murders and rapes and then STILL get to live!...Yes, they will be behind bars for the rest of their lives, but with overpopulated prisons and advances in DNA evidence, I say if you can absolutely, without a doubt, PROVE that the murderer did the crime, they should go straight to the death room and be put down immediately!!!!....I can agree with some who are against the death penalty, but only to a point..and that point would be for people who are still upholding their innocence for YEARS and YEARS and maybe was not able to have the DNA evidence heard during their trial because back then it was still too new....In this particular case we are talking about though, if they have linked Clinton to the RAPE and MURDER of this mother and her two beautiful babies by DNA evidence, they should just stick the needle in his arm AT the courthouse!! Why waste soooooo much money to keep him alive until he dies!?!?!....It DOESN'T MAKE SENSE!!!!!!


I am asking the family to Please let justice prevail in this case . And the only justice that can come from this case is death , and that the only way
I can not even come close to understanding the pain that you all have been through , but I cannot think of the way the three died and what they were thinking at the time that this happened .The devil has a place waiting for him when this is over and they find him guilty . Please Family , Pray that god will give you the courage and the streghth to see this through .
And as far as the trial is concerned , I know if it were me I would more then likely stay home till the jury came back and I would want to be there to support and the hope that justice will be done
I know I have mnoved out of State , but if their is anyway I can come back for this I will be there , But I pray for the family .

dorothy gale

Make the punishment fit the crime.

red white and blue

Gene44870 your comment is spot on ! Wish they would allow that to be a law


I agree with the family, let him Rot in there For EVER, never let him out. Put a camera in his cell so Sandusky can watch him rot, when we want. Let him suffer the rest of his life like the family will do. Solitaire confinement. Be first to let Sandusky watch Clinton rot.


this should be the decision the family makes and not the prosecutor alone. It really should.


I will restate: Per law - the wishes of the husband ( EX? ) and the FATHER of the deceased children WILL TRUMP over everyone else's. As happens the minute you get married. Those were HIS children. NO matter who had custody, People have tended to forget that.