Jackson Trial: UI student denies killing family in questioning

Investigators told Alexander Jackson during hours of questioning that he was leaving something out about his relationship with his sister, and suspected familial tension.

Sabine Martin, Managing News Editor

Former University of Iowa business student Alexander Jackson denied he killed his parents and sister to investigators multiple times in a video presented during testimony in the Linn County Courtroom Thursday. 

“I didn’t do it. I would never hurt my family. They are important to me. I love them,” Alexander Jackson told investigators Matt Denlinger and Sarah Lacina in the hospital on the day of the crime.  

He faces three counts of first-degree murder for the killings of his father, Jan Jackson, 61; mother, Melissa Jackson, 68; and sister, who was also a UI student, Sabrina Jackson, 19.

Jackson called 911 at 8:23 a.m. on June 15, 2021, and told police that a Black man wearing black clothes and green shoes broke into the Jackson Cedar Rapids residence and shot and killed his family members. Jackson said the intruder also shot him in the foot. 

The murder weapon was a 22-caliber Browning semi-automatic rifle using Remington brand ammunition, police said. Alexander Jackson told police he and his father cleaned the gun the night before the killings. Police matched Alexander Jackson’s palm print to the rifle. 

However, physical DNA that was sampled on the gun was inconclusive or not identified.

In the video of the hospital, Denlinger told Alexander Jackson that there was not any evidence that anyone other than him and his family members were in the house during the killings. 

“At some point, you are going to need to tell someone what happened,” Denlinger said.

Security system footage from the Jackson home’s Ring doorbell camera and a Nest camera from across the street presented in the courtroom on Thursday showed that no intruder was seen.  

Lacina told Alexander Jackson in the video that his 911 call that his mom and sister were shot did not line up with his first explanation of the incident. 

“What happened that led to the events today? What caused this?” Lacina asked Alexander Jackson in the hospital. 

The investigators also told Alexander that he was leaving something out about his relationship with his sister, and they suspected familial tension. 

Alexander Jackson responded, saying his parents loved him and his sister equally. 

Investigators get insight into Alexander Jackson’s personal life 

Alexander Jackson also told investigators that he shot long guns at a gun range in Iowa City. 

He added that he did well freshman year of college studying business, but was taking 15 credit hours at the UI sophomore year and only passed one class. He said his dad promised to pay for half of college, and Alexander Jackson would pay the other half. 

He told investigators he didn’t show any effort in school. His family told him if he didn’t get a job, he would have to move out.  

“We understand the baggage that you are under. These things don’t just come out of the blue,” Denlinger told Alexander Jackson. 

The trial will resume Friday at 9 a.m. in the Linn County Courthouse. The prosecution is expected to rest its case.

Alejandro Rojas and Liam Halawith contributed to this report.