In August 2011, Donnell D. Jackson was committed to a California mental hospital after a judge found him mentally incompetent to stand trial for setting a small fire in a wooded area near a freeway offramp outside Sacramento, court records show.
At the time, the judge found Jackson “lacks the capacity to make decisions regarding anti-psychotic medication” and that his “disorder requires treatment with anti-psychotic drugs,” according to records filed in Sacramento County Superior Court.
However, the judge also ruled that the finding that Jackson “lacks the capacity to make decisions does not depend solely on that diagnosis of mental disorder,” the records say.
It’s not clear how Jackson ended up in Seattle after seemingly spending most of his life bouncing between Northern California and Las Vegas. But according to charging papers filed Tuesday in connection with an unprovoked knife attack in Pioneer Square on Friday night, he arrived here six months ago and told police he’s been off his medications for the past four months
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The 44-year-old is accused of fatally stabbing Troy Wolff, a 43-year-old professor and chair of the English department at Shoreline Community College, and critically injuring Wolff’s girlfriend, Kristen Ito, 30.
Ito was released from Harborview Medical Center on Monday.
Jackson, who was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder, is being held in the King County Jail in lieu of $2 million bail.
“The defendant claims to be schizophrenic,” he is homeless, has no permanent address or employment and “has no known family or friends in Seattle,” King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Don Raz wrote in charging papers.
Court and public records, however, indicate Jackson has a child with a former girlfriend from California and both now live in the Seattle area. One of the woman’s relatives said Tuesday that the woman had no idea Jackson had made the 750-mile trip north from Sacramento and was now living here.
It’s not clear whether Jackson was aware that the woman and child live in the Seattle area.
After his arrest in the knife attack, Jackson “was lucid,” understood detectives’ questions and answered appropriately, charging papers say. Detectives say he told them he recognized the man — Wolff — as someone who had pulled a gun on him at a light-rail station an hour before the attack, the papers say.
Jackson apparently thought the couple were “members of a group that was stalking him and trying to kill him,” and the group was “holding several people hostage in South Seattle,” the charges say.
According to police, Wolff and Ito were among the 55,000 soccer fans who attended a Seattle Sounders game on Friday night at CenturyLink Field. After leaving the game, couple was walking through Pioneer Square around 10:30 p.m. when Jackson “started suddenly attacking Ito” near Third Avenue South and South Jackson Street, the papers say. When Wolff intervened, he was repeatedly stabbed in the chest, neck and abdomen, according to the charges.
Other people called police and attempted to help Wolff, the papers say. One witness told officers “he heard Jackson saying, ‘I’m going to kill you’ to the victims,” according to the papers.
“Officers arrived quickly and found Jackson still standing over the now-down Wolff. One witness standing nearby before the police arrived said Jackson kept repeating, ‘Blood money,’ ” the papers say.
The folding-blade knife used in the random attack was found at the scene, according to the papers.
According to a spokesman for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Jackson was arrested in Las Vegas in June 2009 for several traffic violations and possession of stolen property. It couldn’t immediately be determined if he served jail time there.
Court records show Jackson racked up traffic violations and misdemeanor crimes in Arizona and Oregon. He also filed for bankruptcy in May 2010 while he was living in Las Vegas, but the case was dismissed that November after Jackson failed to make plan payments to debtors, according to documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
In June 2011, Jackson was charged in Sacramento County Superior Court for intentionally setting a fire that burned “a structure and forest land located at Interstate 80 at the Elkhorn Boulevard Exit,” court records show. The exit is east of Sacramento, in the city of North Highlands, where court records show Jackson was living at the time.
He was later ordered to pay $434.15 to the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District.
It appears Jackson spent about three months at Napa State Hospital before returning to court in December 2011, when he was placed on probation for five years, court records say.
Court records show that a warrant was issued for Jackson’s arrest in October 2012 for violating probation and he was sentenced in November to a 30-day jail term — the last information available.
Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf and staff reporter Lewis Kamb contributed to this report.
Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or firstname.lastname@example.org