ELYRIA — A blood clot in the brain that struck accused killer Vincent Jackson Jr. at the Lorain County Jail on Sunday has left him without the ability to speak, one of his attorneys said Friday.
Jackson, 31, remains at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, where he is still being treated and evaluated, defense lawyer J. Anthony Rich said.
He said that an MRI and physical tests have confirmed a blood clot that sent Jackson to the hospital Sunday morning. Rich said Jackson can lift his arms, but he doesn’t know if there has been long-term damage to his client’s cognitive functions.
Jackson was supposed to go on trial in October on aggravated murder and other charges stemming from the June 2008 shooting death of Gas USA clerk Qiana Walton during a robbery. Police and prosecutors have said security footage at the station showed Jackson shooting Walton in the head with an AK-47 rifle.
She had cooperated with Jackson during the robbery, disabling the alarm and giving him about $12,000 in cash before she was shot, according to authorities.
If he’s convicted, Jackson could get a death sentence.
But Rich said Friday that county Common Pleas Judge James Miraldi has agreed to put off the trial indefinitely until more is known about Jackson’s medical status.
At some point, a determination will have to be made whether Jackson is still competent to assist in his own defense, Rich said, but it’s too early to say how long that will take.
“Until we have a neurologist tell us what he can and cannot process, we’re in limbo,” Rich said.
Criminal defendants must be able to assist in their own defense, Rich said. If Jackson can’t do so, he might have to be put into a medical facility where he would remain until if or when he becomes competent to stand trial.
County Prosecutor Dennis Will said his office also can’t do much until more is known about Jackson’s long-term prognosis.
He said the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office is working on making arrangements for when Jackson leaves MetroHealth. Will said normally someone who suffered from
Jackson’s symptoms would go to a nursing home or similar facility to undergo therapy and treatment, but security is a factor with Jackson.
Will said he doubts the county jail has the facilities to house an inmate with Jackson’s medical problems.
Rich said Miraldi plans to order medical reports sent to him under seal, and the judge will share that information with attorneys in the case.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.