ELYRIA — An accused killer who could get the death penalty if convicted was rushed to the hospital from the Lorain County Jail around 6 a.m. Sunday after suffering what jail officials believe was either a stroke or blood clot in the brain.
Vincent Jackson Jr., 31, was being treated under guard at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland and could return to the jail later this week, said sheriff’s Capt. Jack Hammond, the jail administrator.
“He’s conscious,” Hammond said. “He’s got some issues, there’s no doubt.”
Calls to a hospital spokeswoman seeking Jackson’s condition were not returned Monday.
J. Anthony Rich, one of Jackson’s defense attorneys, said Monday he hasn’t spoken with his client and isn’t certain exactly what his medical prognosis is and what effect that will have on the case.
Jackson is facing aggravated murder and other charges for allegedly gunning down Gas USA clerk Qiana Walton during a June 2008 robbery.
Prosecutors have said surveillance footage from security cameras at the station showed Walton cooperating with Jackson, disabling the alarm and handing over about $12,000 in cash before she was shot in the head.
About a month before Walton’s shooting, Jackson had been released from prison after serving an eight-year sentence for shooting a man in the head during an argument in Chicago. That man survived.
Rich said the mental competence of all criminal defendants is important, but it can be particularly important in death penalty cases.
Rich said he doesn’t know if Jackson’s mental faculties were damaged by his medical condition, but it’s something that could come into play.
“That’s a medical issue, not a lawyer issue,” he said. “I don’t really think we can do anything until we get the medical reports.”
Jackson’s trial was scheduled for October but, given the circumstances, Rich said that could be delayed. He said prosecutors and defense attorneys intend to meet with county Common Pleas Judge James Miraldi to discuss the case later this week.
County Prosecutor Dennis Will said his office can’t make any decisions at this point, either.
“We’ll wait and see what the medical people tell his attorneys,” Will said.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or email@example.com.