Two-and-a-half years after being accused of raping a former girlfriend, Jeremy Jackson‘s felony trial finally began earlier this month; the former UFC fighter and TUF 4 contestant had been in jail since his June 2008 arrest, unable to post the $1 million bond. But in a surprising turn of events, Jackson changed his plea to guilty midway through the trial, and now faces 25 years to life in prison. The Ventura County Star passes along more details:
The change of plea stunned [Jackson's] lawyer, Russell Baker, who is with the Public Defender’s Office. “It was against my advice. I tried to tell him not to do that,” said Baker in an interview, adding that he was extremely disappointed. “I feel that we could have beaten his case.”
The alleged victim testified that Jackson had threatened, intimidated and raped her on June 28, 2008. She said Jackson put a gun to her head. Prosecutors say it was a BB gun. She said Jackson wanted her to call another man and have sex in front of him. She said he threatened to kill her, her children and himself if she didn’t do what he said.
Jackson, 28, will be sentenced on Feb. 14 and is facing 25 years to life, said prosecutor Thomas Dunlevy.
Dunlevy said Jackson pleaded guilty to one count of forcible rape with the special allegation of entering the residence to sexually assault the victim. He said Jackson was facing 60 years to life if he had been found guilty of all charges, including one felony count of criminal threat and one felony count of witness intimidation.
Outside the courtroom, three jurors, a male and two females, said they were also surprised that Jackson decided to plea guilty. The defense began putting on its case today, and Baker had only called one defense witness to the stand. After the lunch hour, jurors were told that Jackson decided to plea guilty.
“I was leaning toward the defendant,” said a female juror…
Another female juror said the victim had “issues” and credibility problems, adding that both were abusive toward each other. “She was probably worse,” the female juror said.
While giving testimony earlier in the trial, the victim detailed the abusive relationship that she had with Jackson, claiming that Jackson had previously cut her hand with a knife, injured her back by throwing her across a room, and threatened to throw her out a of window. During opening statements, Jackson’s lawyer claimed that the ex-girlfriend consented to having sex on the night in question, and that his client did not rape her.