(Video of you purchasing the weapon? Check. Tape of you admitting to the crime? Check. Incriminating text messages sent to the victim? Check. Women on the jury still think you’re innocent? You must be a professional fighter. PicProps: VCStar.com)
Two months after he stunned his attorney midway through trial by pleading guilty to raping his former girlfriend in 2008, UFC washout Jeremy Jackson was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison on Monday in California. A Ventura County Superior Court judge said she had “little or no discretion” in deciding Jackson’s sentence after the plea, according to a newspaper report.
The Ventura County Star – whose reference to Jackson as an “Ultimate Fighter” in its headline is only excusable because of his stint on the UFC’s reality show of the same name – had the details of Monday’s proceeding, which we have to say are kind of bizarre. Even though he admitted last December that he raped his ex-girlfriend while burglarizing her home on June 28, 2008, the Star reports that a female juror in the trial asked the court if she could “make a statement on Jackson’s behalf” during sentencing. The same juror later told the paper she thought Jackson was innocent and that he “only pleaded guilty because he was depressed and wanted the trial to end.”
We’re sure there’s a terrible joke to be made here about the women who fall in love with prison inmates – especially since the sentencing came down on Valentine’s Day, which probably felt like the worst possible timing for everyone involved – but we’re not going to do that. That’s what user comments are for, right?
Anyway, the female juror’s comments to the Star seem to be in-keeping with earlier reports about Jackson’s trial, which said he pleaded guilty against the advice of his attorney and that three jurors — a male and two females – said at the time they were surprised by the plea. “I really felt the defendant was innocent,” the aforementioned juror said Monday. In December, a different jury member admitted she had doubts about the accusations made by Jackson’s ex-girlfriend, saying the woman had “issues” and “credibility problems” and adding that the girlfriend was “probably worse” when it came to the physical abuse detailed during the trial.
On the other hand, prosecutors said there was “substantial evidence” that Jackson had “threatened, intimidated and raped” his ex-girlfriend on the day in question. Their evidence included a secretly recorded telephone call between Jackson and the victim after the rape took place where he admits to planning the crime; a sporting goods store surveillance video showing Jackson purchasing a BB gun the victim said he held to her head during the rape and a series of text messages “of an erratic and threatening nature,” according to prosecutors.
Still, defense attorney Russell Baker said he was “very disappointed” with the way the three-week trial ended, reiterating his belief that Jackson “could have beaten his case.”
“He just got broken down (by the trial),” Baker said this week.
Prosecutor Thomas Dunlevy had a slightly different take. He said Jackson “pleaded guilty because he is guilty and was potentially looking at a maximum sentence of 60 years to life.”
Jackson, 28, ended his MMA career at 9-5, including 0-2 in the UFC. His appearance on season four of “The Ultimate Fighter” ended when he was kicked off the show after leaving the house to meet up with a female lifeguard from the local YMCA. Again, we’re not going near that one, either.