Aug. 7, 2:30 p.m. update: A jury has found Gerald Jackson guilty of voluntary manslaughter, a charge lesser than the second-degree murder crime he was charged with. The jury must now determine a prison sentence between 1 and 10 years.
The commonwealth rested Tuesday as the second day of trial for a Charlottesville man charged with murdering his neighbor ended fairly quietly.
Gerald Francis Jackson, 61, is charged with second-degree murder after city police officers responded to an emergency call in the Belmont neighborhood in January. Jackson’s neighbor, Richard Wayne Edwards, 55, was found dead in his apartment at 1100 Cherry St. with wounds to both his neck and left ear.
On Tuesday in Charlottesville Circuit Court, various CPD officers and detectives painted a picture of a man with a shifting alibi that could not be substantiated.
According to CPD Detective Robbie Oberholzer, Jackson claimed he left his home to grab a beer at the Lucky 7 convenience store and returned to find his neighbor’s door open and Edwards bleeding on the floor. Based on the timeline Jackson gave, he would have been unable to purchase alcohol due to state laws; he also did not appear on any of Lucky 7’s security footage.
After finding Edwards, Jackson told police that he took off his shirt and wrapped it around his friend’s neck wound before seeking someone to call 911.
However, during evidence recovery, no T-shirt was found, with officers instead locating a pair of long john underwear near Edwards’ head. The long johns, which were presented to the court, bore blood stains and appeared to be too large to belong to Jackson.
According to testimony, Jackson later told police variations of the same story, blaming Edwards’ death on a black methamphetamine dealer and separately on a man named James that Jackson claimed to have been drinking with earlier that night. During CPD’s investigation, Oberholzer said no suspects were found matching the descriptions of name Jackson gave.
Additionally, Oberholzer said Jackson repeatedly talked about a missing red-handled screwdriver he had lent to Edwards. A screwdriver matching that description with blood on it was found five days in the yard, with fresh dirt and a lack of rusting on it, indicating it had not been there long, said Oberholzer. It is believed to be the murder weapon.
The trial will continue into a third day, with a verdict and recommended sentence expected to be reached Wednesday. The defense is not expected to call any witnesses.