TACOMA – In Tacoma’s federal courthouse on Friday, Deborah Jackson turned from the podium to face her daughter’s killer. After four years of hearings she wanted no apology, Jackson only wanted her words to never leave the man’s mind.
“I hope when you die, you go straight to torment,” Jackson told Bobbie Pease. “With gasoline underwear on.”
She and three other relatives of Jessica Shaunti Jackson addressed the court during Pease’s sentencing hearing in U.S. District Court. Judge Robert Bryan sentenced the man to 26 years in prison for the 2018 beating and murder of Jackson, 34, in a wooded area of Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Bryan said the sentence was effectively life in prison.
Pease and another man, Jeremy Warren, previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. Warren was sentenced Friday afternoon to 21 years, 10 months in prison.
The victim’s relatives spoke with passion about the pain the 53-year-old man had wrought on their family. Through tears and in his Army uniform, the victim’s older brother, Sgt. Maj. Ian Jackson, recounted his first memory of when Jackson was adopted into their family’s home as a months-old infant in 1984. Then he told the court what it was like to pick up the phone and learn she had been killed.
“You are a coward,” Ian Jackson told Pease. “You took my little sister away.”
When federal prosecutor Grady Leupold addressed the court, he described the victim as an exceptionally trusting woman with a big heart, and he outlined what led to her “senseless” killing. He said she was a person who trusted her friends and that she thought she could count Pease and Warren among them. They betrayed that trust, the prosecutor said.
Jackson had been living with Pease for a few days in Tacoma after the man’s girlfriend offered to let her and her daughter stay there while Jackson moved out of her old apartment, according to the prosecutor. Leupold said on the day of her death, Jackson took Pease and Warren to the store to buy groceries as compensation for letting her stay.
According to court records, Pease said he wanted to go target shooting on the way back home. In an area of JBLM near Spanaway, outside the base’s fence, the men reportedly accused Jackson of stealing a pocket knife and a pipe. Then they attacked her, breaking her bones with a baseball bat and injuring her head before Pease shot the woman three times.
The weapon was dumped in the Puyallup River, and on Sept. 13, 2018, railroad workers found Jackson’s body. The defendants were arrested the next month in Forks.
Family members of the victim asked Pease in court what Jackson did to deserve such a violent death. When it was the defense’s turn to address the court, attorney Emma Scanlan turned to this question.
“The answer is she did nothing wrong,” Scanlan said.
Scanlan said Pease knows that what he did was unforgivable, and that her client doesn’t expect or deserve forgiveness. But Scanlan said Pease remains human and that he has done what he can by pleading guilty and sitting quietly in court while the victim’s family members spoke their minds. One aspect of the defense’s sentencing memorandum was addressing the fact that Pease has been diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome.
Scanlan said bringing up the diagnosis was not meant to excuse his actions or to say he is not responsible, but to understand that he was born with a brain “that can never be fixed.”
Pease then stood at the podium and said he was “deeply sorry” for the stress he had caused everyone and for the loss to the Jackson family. Members of his family sat in the gallery during the hearing.
“I wish it was me instead of her,” Pease said.
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