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Sister's story backs defense

Terri Jackson, a witness to the robbery and murder, says her sister was forced to commit the crimes.

By COLLEEN JENKINS
Published September 20, 2006


TAMPA - Jeffrey Dampier Jr., a lottery winner turned entrepreneur, lay face down and bound on the floor of his own van. Up front, Nathaniel Jackson cranked the volume on the radio. T-Pain's I'm Sprung pumped through the air.

Got me doin' thing's I'll never do

If u ain't been I'm tellin' you

As the volume swelled, so did Jackson's voice.

"Shoot him, or I'll shoot you!" Nathaniel Jackson shouted at his girlfriend of no relation, Victoria Jackson.

"No, no," Victoria Jackson's sister yelled from the back of the van. "Don't shoot!"

Terri Jackson, who recounted the scene for jurors Tuesday, said she saw her sister holding a gun. Ducking in the back, Terri Jackson heard a single shot. She looked up and saw blood.

She came to court on a subpoena from the state, which charged Victoria Jackson with first-degree murder, armed kidnapping, aggravated armed assault and armed carjacking for the July 26, 2005, events that left Dampier dead.

But Terri Jackson didn't support prosecutors' theory.

"He was basically controlling the whole events that day," she said of Nathaniel Jackson. "When he said do it, you don't have a choice."

Prosecutors plan to take Nathaniel Jackson, 25, to trial on the same charges next month. But Tuesday, Assistant State Attorney Jalal Harb marched in 15 witnesses to build his case against the 23-year-old woman he contends pulled the trigger.

Harb said Nathaniel and Victoria Jackson planned to rob her wealthy brother-in-law, who won a $20-million lottery in Illinois and owned Kassie's Gourmet Popcorn in Channelside.

Dampier, 39, supported Victoria Jackson with his fortune, but the unemployed couple decided the cash wasn't coming fast enough, Harb said.

Victoria Jackson's attorney said her boyfriend orchestrated the robbery and killing. Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and battered woman's syndrome, she followed his orders, defense attorney Kenneth Littman said.

Terri Jackson, 27, watched the tragedy unfold.

She said she went to her sister's Brandon apartment to hang out for the evening. The plan, she said, was to watch movies, eat pizza and drink a few cocktails.

Soon after her arrival, Victoria Jackson handed her $2,400 in cash. The money came from Dampier, who was married to their older sister but involved in a seven-year affair with Victoria, Terri Jackson said.

Nathaniel Jackson was at the apartment, then left. Victoria Jackson called Dampier and convinced him to come over.

Victoria Jackson asked her sister to wait in the bedroom until Dampier left, Terri Jackson said. She could hear them kissing and talking. When she heard the front door open and close, Terri Jackson came out of the bedroom.

Nathaniel Jackson had a gun drawn on his girlfriend and Dampier, she testified.

"Hey man, I'll give you what you want," Dampier said, according to Terri Jackson. "Just let me live."

"Sit down," Nathaniel Jackson said. "Fat boy, city boy, rich boy. I've been waiting to get you. You think you can have sex with two sisters, rich boy?"

Then he ordered his girlfriend to tie Dampier's wrist with shoestring, search his pockets and take the keys to his van, Terri Jackson said. Her sister found a brown paper bag with $7,000 or $8,000 inside one pocket. Dampier offered the couple $20,000.

Everyone was forced to get into the van, she said. When Terri Jackson tried to untie Dampier's wrists, Nathaniel Jackson put the gun to her forehead, she said.

After the shooting, she jumped from the moving van as it slowed on a residential, dead-end street in Seffner.

"I felt like he was going to kill me next," Terri Jackson said.

Her account shortly after the shooting helped lead detectives to Victoria and Nathaniel Jackson, who were arrested in Jacksonville two days later. Since her arrest, Victoria Jackson has told at least two people that the shooting was "an accident," Tuesday's testimony revealed.

The trial continues today.

Colleen Jenkins can be reached at (813) 226-3337 or cjenkins@sptimes.com.

[Last modified September 20, 2006, 06:01:03]


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