ELYRIA — Admitted killer Vincent Jackson Jr. tortured animals when he was in his youth, his older sister testified Thursday.
Tiffany Sterling said she recalled one incident in which her brother and others stuck a firecracker inside of a cat and lit it. In another incident, she said, he poured gasoline on a cat and let it run away before setting the gas ablaze. She also said he put a noose around a cat’s neck and pushed it out a window.
Sterling’s testimony came in the third day of hearings in which defense attorneys have tried to portray Jackson’s troubled upbringing as a mitigating factor to a three-judge panel that will decide if Jackson should be executed for killing Gas USA clerk Qiana Walton during a 2008 robbery.
“I come from a dysfunctional home. I come from a (expletive) up home,” Sterling said.
Defense attorney J. Anthony Rich said after the hearing that he wasn’t overly surprised by Sterling’s testimony, which also included descriptions of domestic violence between her parents and drug trafficking and drug abuse in her youth in Chicago.
“He did things that aren’t consistent with somebody of sound mind,” Rich said.
Dr. John Fabian, a defense forensic psychologist, has testified that Jackson, 33, suffers from antisocial disorder with paranoid tendencies and ADHD, is addicted to drugs and alcohol and is in the “borderline intellectually functioning range.”
Assistant Lorain County Prosecutor Tony Cillo has called Fabian’s findings into question, suggesting that the psychologist cherry-picked the evidence he used to diagnose Jackson.
Fabian said he had “not intentionally” done so when compiling his 43-page report on Jackson’s mental health.
A mental health expert is scheduled to testify when the sentencing hearings resume Tuesday.
Jackson also is expected to make an unsworn statement to the judges Tuesday.
If he doesn’t receive a death sentence, Jackson will face life in prison.