MacIver News Service
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON – Christine Schweiger and her 10-year-old daughter, Monique, had just picked up chicken at a north side Milwaukee Popeyes when they were approached by two teens looking for a victim.
Jevon Jackson was 16 then, in November 1993, when he and a 15-year-old friend demanded money from Schweiger in the fast-food restaurant’s parking lot. Jackson, according to court documents, displayed a sawed-off shotgun and ordered the mother of three to her knees. When Schweiger pleaded that she didn’t have any money, Jackson cocked the shotgun and fired point blank at her head – execution style, in front of her horrified daughter.
Why? Jackson later told police he didn’t like Schweiger’s “attitude” when she said she didn’t have any money.
Nearly 25 years later, Jackson, who was found guilty of armed robbery and a particularly gruesome homicide, continues to contest his life sentence — unsuccessfully thus far. He will be eligible for parole when he is 101.
“If prison is truly about rehabilitation, then I’ve consistently demonstrated, over the past 20 years, that I am reformed and ready to integrate back into society as a productive, hard-working man,” Jackson, also known as inmate No. 299078, wrote on a blog site called “Second Chance for Juvenile Offenders.”
Social Justice warriors have made a lot of arguments – many of them loudly – for criminal justice reform. They like to feature the faces of inmates trapped in a broken system, particularly prisoners serving time for crimes committed as kids.
They could have picked a much more sympathetic witness than Jevon Jackson.
Gretchen Schuldt, executive director for the Wisconsin Justice Initiative, recently wrote a piece published in Urban Milwaukee on Jackson’s latest failed pursuit of a lighter sentence. WJI advocates for “progressive change in the Wisconsin justice system by educating the public about its real-life impacts,” according to its website.
“Jackson’s case illustrates the tensions inherent in life-without-parole sentences for juveniles,” Schuldt wrote. “Should young people be locked up without ever having a chance at parole, even if that means they will spend much more time in prison than an adult sentenced to life without parole?”
And that’s the problem with the far left and their idea of “criminal justice reform.” They’re big on “second chances” for criminals who murder mothers at point blank range.
In a Wisconsin Appeals Court ruling, Jackson sought re-sentencing under the premise that his constitutional rights had been violated.
The appeals court panel disagreed. The ruling notes the established points of law that “children are constitutionally different from adults for purposes of sentencing” and acknowledges Jackson’s sentence “is certainly severe.” But the punishment is not “disproportionately so based on the circumstances of the crime.”
There are rare juvenile offenders “whose crime reflects irreparable corruption.”
Jackson’s crime fits the bill.
Jackson made a series of premeditated bad decisions. First, he decided to commit armed robbery with his pal. The teens hatched a plan to target white people “because they believed white people were less likely to be armed,” according to court documents.
They watched Christine Schweiger and her daughter enter the restaurant and waited outside for about 10 minutes until the target walked out. Jackson pulled out the sawed-off shotgun. The teens ordered Schweiger and her daughter to give them their food. The victims complied. Jackson then ordered Schweiger to her knees and demanded she give him her money. Schweiger said she did not have any money “and looked back at Jackson out of the corner of her eye.” She had an “attitude,” Jackson told investigators.
That was enough for the 16-year-old to squeeze the trigger and instantly take the life of Schweiger, a single mother who worked as an accountant in the Milwaukee County Department of Aging.
“This is gruesome. This is just senseless,” Vincent Partipilo, a Milwaukee police inspector, told the Chicago Tribune at the time.
Jackson and his accomplice fled, without cash or the bag of fast-food, leaving Schweiger “lying in a pool of blood in the parking lot.”
Jackson also left a stain on the lives of so many, the kind of cruel and unusual punishment that doesn’t get a lot of press coverage years after the commission of a heinous crime. On that November day in 1993, Jackson sentenced three children to life without a mother, even after he forced a 10-year-old to watch the gruesome murder. Think of the graduations, the weddings, the family reunions since, all without a central figure of the family. All without their Mom.
And Jackson robbed Milwaukee of a woman who was working with a central-city church movement seeking to restore peace in the community.
In the Second Chance for Juvenile Offenders blog post, Jackson talks about how he has worked hard in prison, that the teenager who took a mother’s life is now a rehabilitated man. He writes poems, about prison, pain, justice. But while Jackson sees injustice in the system, he doesn’t offer much remorse for what sent him to prison in the first place. That lack of contrition was noted at his original sentencing hearing.
Jackson has gone on to file multiple lawsuits claiming acts of injustice, and not just related to the homicide case. He once argued that his First Amendment rights had been violated because the prison wouldn’t allow him to hang a picture of actress Jennifer Aniston in his cell. In another case, he complained that the prison wouldn’t print out a response – called a “hookup” – to his Inmate Connections online dating ad.
The far left argues that there are myriad examples of inmates serving lengthy sentences for “misguided youth” crimes. But Jevon Jackson? Is he really the face of the criminal justice reform movement?
Jackson killed a woman in cold blood in front of her 10-year-old daughter. He is right where he needs to be.
M.D. Kittle is an Investigative Reporter with the MacIver Institute. This article appears courtesy of the MacIver Institute.