Monday, August 30, 2004

Murderer linked to change scheme



The Associated Press

CLEVELAND - A man who served a prison term for murder but was later accepted to law school has again run afoul of the law, authorities said.

"He should've spent more time studying," said Lakewood Police Chief Tim Malley, whose officers arrested Stephen C. Jackson, 35, while he allegedly changed hundreds of dollars in ink-stained bills from a robbery into quarters at a car-wash coin machine.

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The money from the robbery was stained red when a dye pack exploded. Police said they found $457.50 in quarters weighing 23 pounds in Jackson's pockets and about $2,185 in bills on him and in his car.

Jackson was elected by fellow students as president of Cleveland State University's Black Law Students Association.

Jackson qualified for law school with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from the University of Maryland in 2002. He earned some of the credits while serving eight years in prison for murder.

He moved his wife, Dawn, a native of Warren, and two daughters to Cleveland because CSU's was the only law school to accept him, his father, Carroll Jackson of Temple Hills, Md., told the Plain Dealer in an interview published Sunday.

"He wanted to be a lawyer; that was his goal," the elder Jackson said. "I thought he was moving in the right direction. I just don't know what happened. I cannot make heads or tails of it."

He said his son doted on his daughters, ages 5 and 2.

Cleveland State does not require criminal-background checks on law-school applicants and does not have a rule barring admission of applicants convicted of serious crimes.

"In considering the applications for admission of individuals who have been convicted of crimes, the law school looks at all the circumstances concerning the conviction and the applicant's subsequent conduct," spokesman Brian Johnston said.

Jackson has been charged with conspiring to rob Charter One branches in Westlake on May 15 and Cleveland on Aug. 18. Authorities also said he was a suspect in two other bank holdups since May.

Jackson's father said his daughter-in-law claims she knew nothing about her husband's crimes, but police said otherwise and charged her in the two robberies.

Authorities said some of the bank loot was wired to prisons, including a prison in Virginia, where Stephen Jackson's younger brother, Thomas, is serving time for drug trafficking.




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