Police have arrested Homer Lee Jackson, and authorities say he is a serial killer who is responsible for killing at least four women in Portland, Oregon, in the 1980s. Jackson, 55, is charged with aggravated murder in the deaths of Essie Jackson, Tonja Harry, Angela Anderson, and Latanga Watts. All women are said to have been working as prostitutes at the time of their deaths. He is being held without bond at the Multnomah County jail, USA Today reports.
Although detectives are still investigating the case, they believe Jackson may have been involved in several other unsolved murders. According to a report from KOIN, a grand jury saw evidence on Friday that police said links Jackson to the killings, which reportedly took place between 1983 and 1987. The grand jury later indicted him on 12 counts of aggravated murder.
Authorities were able to prove Jackson’s involvement in the murders through forensics and other investigative evidence. He is expected to be arraigned on Monday after being booked on 12 counts of aggravated murder.
Speaking with reporters during a press conference on Friday, Sgt. Pete Simpson gave the following statement regarding the cold case arrest.
“Detectives are asking the public to help with these cases by providing any information they might have about these four victims and about Homer Jackson, including people who have associated with him in the past few years and can talk about his routines, habits and places he frequents.”
Homer Lee Jackson has a long rap sheet, and has been arrested in the past for various crimes such as burglary and criminal mischief.
Neighbors were shocked when they learned that a serial killer had been living near them. Beverly Jones, who lives just feet away from Jackson, described him as a quiet, nice man who mostly kept to himself in their apartment complex.
“If you saw him, you wouldn’t ever think he would be accused of this,” Jones said. “He… stayed to himself a lot. Sometimes we had barbecues and we would come down and speak, and stuff like that. Other than that, he seemed like a good person.”
The details surrounding the case are still being sorted out, but police say all four victims were African-American women who were choked or strangled to death with the exception of one — the youngest, who was just 14-years-old. As of the time of this report, police haven’t yet figured out how she was killed.
“Cold Case Homicide Unit detectives began investigating these cases when the unit began in 2004 and have worked closely with the original case detectives… to develop evidence in these cases that led to the arrest of Homer Jackson as the suspect,” a statement from the Portland Police Bureau read. “Homer Jackson has been connected to all four murders through forensic evidence and/or other investigative information.”
Homer Lee Jackson’s first victim was Essie Jackson (not related), a 23-year-old mother whose lifeless body was discovered in March, 1983, by someone walking near a steep embankment.
Just a short while later, on July 9, 1983, another body was discovered by two individuals walking between a golf course and Portland International Raceway. They called police after noticing what seemed to be a body floating in the water. Investigators found a young African-American female face down in the water and she was later identified as 19-year old Tonja Harry. Witnesses told authorities they had seen her in the area the night before she was found.
Later that year, in the upstairs bedroom of a vacant house, an unsuspecting homebuyer was looking around the residence when he spotted the body of a young African-American female. The victim, 14-year-old Angela Anderson, lived in a foster home and had a troubled life, police later learned, and got into prostitution shortly before she was strangled and sexually assaulted. She had been dead for two weeks before her body was found.
The fourth victim was killed years later on March 18, 1987. According to Oregon Live, Latanga Watts, a 29-year-old African-American mother-of-three, was found strangled and dumped in a grassy area near a bridge. Watts was a known addict and prostitute, investigators said.
[Image via YouTube screenshot]