Jackson’s family says killer’s sentence can’t make up for loss
Collette Anthony-Jackson wiped the tears from her face as she exited the courtroom where her stepdaughter’s killer was slapped with a long prison sentence on Thursday. Confessed killer Robert Fowler was sentenced to life in prison and ordered to...
Collette Anthony-Jackson wiped the tears from her face as she exited the courtroom where her stepdaughter's killer was slapped with a long prison sentence on Thursday.
Confessed killer Robert Fowler was sentenced to life in prison and ordered to serve 22 years and 11 months before becoming eligible for parole.
It comes two years after the 52-year-old mechanic admitted to using a rope to strangle Khanice Jackson, a 20-year-old accounting clerk, on the back seat of his car until froth came to her mouth and her body stopped shaking.
A medical examination revealed that Fowler had scratch marks on his back and shoulders, lead prosecutor Jeremy Taylor disclosed in court.
Anthony-Jackson acknowledged that Fowler's punishment provided “some comfort”, but said it does not come close to the “sentence” imposed on Khanice's family.
“One has to understand that in these circumstances, the family gets a sentence, too,” she said, clutching to her husband, Roy, outside the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston.
“We are sentenced to mourn and grieve for the rest of our lives what we thought would be ours for the rest of her life. What we lost is not something that a sentence can ever make up for.”
Amid the grief and the pain, though, Roy Jackson sought to console Fowler's relatives.
“He has also left his family in a similar situation – not identical – but they also are left to mourn. They are in a new situation, which they are uncomfortable with,” he said, referring to his daughter's killer.
Khanice and Fowler, who met on a public passenger vehicle in 2020, both lived in Portmore and worked with different entities in Cross Roads, St Andrew, prosecutors disclosed.
They were not involved in a romantic relationship.
Justice Leighton Pusey, who presided over the sentencing hearing, cited the “brutality” of Khanice's slaying as one of several aggravating factors.
Fowler admitted, in a caution statement to police investigators, that before leaving Jackson's body in a ditch on Dyke Road in Portmore, St Catherine, he left it in an abandoned building near the old Forum hotel and went to work.
“The manner of her death by strangulation was not only painful and brutal, but it was a very direct way that Mr Fowler inflicted this thing upon Ms Jackson,” the judge noted.
Pusey noted, too, that even after he pleaded guilty to the crime, Fowler gave probation officers a different “version” of how the young woman met her death that absolved him of any involvement.
Fowler claimed, during an interview with probation officers, that Jackson was killed by someone else and that he was “taking her somewhere to see if she revives”.
This account was included in a social enquiry report prepared by the Probation Department, parts of which were cited by Pusey.
Fowler was taken into custody by the police on March 26, 2021, two days after Jackson's decomposing body was found in the ditch.
In a caution statement to police investigators, he detailed how he and Jackson had a “disagreement” over money as they travelled together in his car from Portmore to Cross Roads, in St Andrew, to their respective jobs.
He described to detectives how he climbed over to the back seat of the car while it was still parked on Passagefort Drive and used a rope to strangle the 20-year-old.
Justice Pusey indicated in court that the conflicting accounts were pointed out to Fowler's attorney, Linden Wellesley.
“He consulted Mr Fowler and Mr Fowler indicated that he sticks by his original statement and that he still accepts responsibility,” Pusey said.
“Even at the stage of the social enquiry report, having pleaded guilty, he is manufacturing a new reality.”
Pusey opted to give Fowler a 15 per cent discount for his guilty plea, explaining that the conflicting accounts was one of the reasons the confessed killer did not get a “full discount”.
The Criminal Justice (Administration) (Amendment) Act 2015 provides for a 50 per cent reduction in sentence depending on the stage of the proceedings at which a guilty plea is entered and the nature of the offence.