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 ipetitions.com/petition/heavencouldntwait, to collect signatures in support of dropping the death penalty in the case.

Comments

lmalley77

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!!!!!!

gene44870

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

man4451

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.

gramafun

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

starryeyes83

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.

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