COLUMBUS, Ohio — Alicia Jackson spent her last moments on Earth preparing dinner for her 2-year-old son, Jeremiah, at their home on Helenrose Lane.
And that little boy, nicknamed Juju, would be a witness to his own mother’s brutal murder.
On Dec. 2, 2010, Columbus police say someone stabbed Jackson to death, leaving the 25-year-old for her live-in boyfriend to later discover.
According to the Franklin County Coroner’s report, Jackson was stabbed more than 30 times in the head, neck, face, chest, arms and hands. She had wounds to her jugular vein, carotid artery, trachea and lungs. She died of multiple stab wounds, and her death was declared a homicide.
At the time, police said there was no sign of forced entry.
“It really took me years to be able to accept, and I’m still in the process of accepting what happened to my sister,” Trevin Jackson said.
He described being close to his older sister and tagging along with her on many of her outings. And he was proud when she moved from their home state to Ohio to pursue a degree at The Ohio State University.
“People revise history when someone’s gone in order to paint them in a better light, but ask 100 people about Alicia, and 100 people are going to tell you that she had a good heart,” Trevin said.
Alicia Jackson’s cousin, Shauntay Jackson, is equally effusive with praise for her lost loved one.
“She had a very pure spirit, a pure soul, like, you can look at her and see her shine from the inside out rather than from the outside in, even though her outside matched her inner beauty,” she said.
The two were extremely close, even experiencing their first pregnancies together. And the last day they saw each other in person was Shauntay’s birthday.
That’s why she’s been determined to lead the fight for answers and justice, despite the uphill challenge. She knows every detail of the case and has spent time essentially doing her own investigation. And she believes she knows the person responsible.
She believes this was no random attack and that Alicia Jackson was targeted. She says Alicia had made it through a rocky time in her relationship with Eugene Wilson, Juju’s father, and the two were planning a move to Dallas. Wilson was in class at the time of the stabbing and was quickly ruled out as a suspect.
In fact, detectives believe a woman is responsible. Steve Eppert, a former detective with the Columbus Division of Police, talked about the case back in February for a podcast put together by high-schoolers in Mason, Ohio. The students are part of the William Mason High School Cold Case Program.
He told the students the belief is that a woman from Wilson’s past is responsible. And he talked to them about the number of stab wounds Jackson had suffered.
“What’s that tell you guys,” he asked them.
They answered that it was “very personal” as Eppert prodded them further to conclude that that meant she likely knew her killer.
But an arrest has never been made, and Columbus Police say they have exhausted their leads.
“Unfortunately where our investigation has stalled is exactly where it is still today - a cold case,” said Sgt. James Fuqua, public information officer for the Columbus Division of Police.
Sgt. Fuqua was in the patrol division at the time of Jackson’s murder and remembers it well.
“Just to hear tragically that a mother died brutally in front of their child in such a horrible way is something you can’t describe, not even in a movie, in just how awful you felt for not only the victim but the victim’s family and the child themselves,” he said.
The challenge is the lack of evidence. No weapon was ever found, and there was nothing that would tie anyone else to the scene of the crime.
People Magazine reports her two laptops and phone were gone, but her purse and wallet were still there, so police do not suspect robbery as a motive.
“We’ve interviewed everybody that we possibly could at this point, and we’ve ruled out many suspects, but we’re confident that there’s still someone out there that knows just enough that would give us that key statement or key piece of evidence that could take this case over the top and put the person behind bars who’s responsible for this,” Sgt. Fuqua said.
That new evidence could come from someone spurred to action with a new spotlight on the case. People Magazine published an article about the investigation in its latest issue.
“Alicia’s more than a story,” Shauntay Jackson said. “We’re just hoping that this story that gets put out somehow finds the needle that we’re looking for in the haystack somewhere.”
Trevin Jackson is equally hopeful.
“I am determined that anything I can do to bring somebody to justice, that I will, and, to me, that gives me hope,” he said. “If we put all of our energy towards finding who did this, then I know it’s only a matter of time for all of this to be resolved.”
Anyone with information can call the CPD Homicide Cold Case Unit at 614-645-4036. Anonymous tips can be directed to Central Ohio Crime Stoppers.