Her Mom Was Murdered. Then the 12-Year Nightmare Began

The 'New York Times' takes a long look at the case of Noura and Jennifer Jackson
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2017 5:21 PM CDT

(Newser) – Noura Jackson, then 18, was the one who called 911 to report that her mother had been stabbed in an apparent break-in at her Memphis home in 2005. Jennifer Jackson, 39, did not survive the attack, and prosecutorial attention ultimately turned to Noura, who said she had returned home from a night out to find her mother bleeding on the floor. After three and a half years in jail awaiting trial, Noura was tried by Amy Weirich, then a "rising star in the prosecutor's office" and today the district attorney, per an extensive New York Times look at the case. Weirich painted a picture of a teenager rebelling against her mother's rules and after her mother's $1.5 million estate. She was found guilty in 2009, but there was more to the story—leading one prosecutor-turned-judge to tell the Times he would not have sought to indict Jackson in the first place.

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Five days after her conviction, the assistant prosecutor filed a critical piece of evidence he said he'd forgotten to submit to the defense. It was a handwritten note that called into question testimony that played a crucial role in getting Jackson convicted. Based on that and other problems with the trial, the Tennessee Supreme Court overturned the conviction in 2014, but Weirich planned to re-try the case. Months went by during which a judge refused to grant Jackson a bond hearing, and then Jackson was offered a plea deal for a reduced sentence. The Department of Corrections said she had enough credit for time served to be released the same day, so she took the plea. But the department was wrong, and Jackson spent more than a year in prison. The Times' full piece, which also looks at other problems with Weirich's office, is worth a read. (Read more Longform stories.)

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