Robert Jackson should have still been in prison when he crashed his car in November 2015, killing his girlfriend outside her Bellevue home.
Since Robert Jackson was convicted of vehicular homicide in August for killing his girlfriend in a high-speed crash in Bellevue last year, he has filed a series of motions seemingly aimed at delaying his inevitable return to prison — this time with a life sentence.
After two continuances, Jackson — who represented himself during his bench trial in July — was sentenced on Friday to life in prison without the possibility of release for his “third strike” offense under the state’s Persistent Offender Act.
The 39-year-old was mistakenly released from prison on Aug. 10, 2015, due to a state error in calculating release dates, the state Department of Corrections (DOC) acknowledged last December.
Jackson should have still been behind bars when he slammed his 1992 Lexus LS into a utility box, killing passenger Lindsay Hill, 35. The mother of two was thrown from the vehicle outside her home in Bellevue’s Newport Hills neighborhood, and her body was discovered by her then-13-year-old son, court records show.
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Jackson, who was intoxicated at the time of the Nov. 11, 2015, crash, fled but was found by police eight hours later.
In addition to vehicular homicide, King County Superior Court Judge Laura Inveen found Jackson guilty of hit-and-run. She also found two “aggravators” in the case for rapid recidivism, since Jackson had been free for only three months before he was again charged with felony crimes, according to the records.
In a sentencing hearing that dragged on for more than 2½ hours, Jackson filed additional motions — all denied — and minimized his actions, saying the crash was “a car accident — they happen every day” and blaming Hill for causing the fatal wreck.
“I’m no threat to anyone … That woman was violent. At least I’m freer in jail than I was with her,” he said, referring to Hill.
But Senior Deputy Prosecutor Amy Freedheim called Jackson “a continual danger” to the public and said he didn’t warrant any leniency given his narcissistic, sociopathic behavior.
The victim’s father, George Hill, gave a statement via Skype from his home in Eastern Washington. He spoke of “the singular pain” that comes with losing a child, his close relationship with his daughter and grandsons, and the horror of reading a 200-page police report detailing his daughter’s final moments.
In an emailed statement, Hill’s stepfather Craig Noel wrote: “Lindsay’s killer was supposed to be in prison serving his sentence for robbery on the day that he killed her, but he was released four months early by the State of Washington. Now that Mr. Jackson has been sentenced to his third strike, we hope and pray that he is required to serve his full sentence, so that he can never hurt anyone else again.”
The hardest part of Hill’s death, Noel wrote, “is comforting our grandchildren, who lost their mother at such a young age.”
A memo filed by the state in August details Jackson’s 26-year history in the criminal-justice system, which began with his first criminal conviction in 1990 on a burglary charge when he was just 13 years old.
Under state law, only crimes considered “most serious” offenses constitute strikes, and the memo says Jackson received his first in 1998 with his conviction on a second-degree assault charge. He was sentenced to nearly 4½ years in prison for a drive-by shooting in which he fired a gun at three teenagers driving on the West Seattle Freeway.
After that conviction, Jackson ran from the courtroom, assaulted a jail officer and escaped the building. He was later arrested and convicted of second-degree escape, the memo says.
In 2011, Jackson pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree robbery and one count of attempted second-degree robbery for a weeklong series of crimes at SeaTac motels, the memo goes on. He robbed a woman working as an escort, robbed a man who had come to the motel expecting to meet an escort, and attempted to rob a motel clerk working the front desk.
In December 2015 it was revealed Jackson had been released from prison early due to a state error in calculating sentences, which led to early releases of thousands of inmates since 2002.
Jackson was mistakenly freed Aug. 10, 2015, according to the DOC. He should have remained locked up until Dec. 6, 2015, a DOC statement said at the time.
A software error was blamed for the sentencing miscalculations, leading to as many as 3,200 prisoners being set free before their correct release dates.