Man accused of killing four Portland women in 1980s cold cases p - KPTV - FOX 12

Man accused of killing four Portland women in 1980s cold cases pleads not guilty

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Homer Jackson in court Monday Homer Jackson in court Monday
Homer Jackson jail booking photo Homer Jackson jail booking photo
Victims of 1980s homicide cold cases Victims of 1980s homicide cold cases
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Relatives of three women and a teen girl killed in the 1980s packed the courtroom for the murder suspect’s first court appearance Monday afternoon.

Homer Lee Jackson, 55, entered a not guilty plea to 12 counts of aggravated murder.

He is accused of killing 23-year-old Essie Jackson, 19-year-old Tonja Harry and 14-year-old Angela Anderson in 1983 and 29-year-old Latanga Watts in 1987. 

Essie Jackson had a son. Watts had three children.

Nearly 20 relatives attended the brief hearing, in which Jackson appeared via video.

“To see so many people in the same room and realize how many lives one person has affected, it really hit home,” said Det. Jim Lawrence, a member of the Portland Police Bureau’s Cold Case Homicide Unit.

FOX 12 previously profiled the unit’s efforts to solve the murders of Jackson, Watts and Anderson.

Lawrence, one of the investigators who worked on the cases for years, said it was satisfying to see the suspect in court.

According to court documents, Jackson committed the murders in the course of committing sexual abuse or in immediate flight from the crime.

Detectives believe Jackson targeted the women because they were victims of sex trafficking.

Court documents state Jackson admitted he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2011 and currently takes two medications to treat the condition. Court documents also state Jackson is a daily user of alcohol. 

Jackson, who lives in northeast Portland, was previously convicted of discharging a firearm in the city in 2006.

His criminal record also includes criminal mischief and burglary convictions from the 1980s and early 2000s, as well as various traffic related violations.

He is being held without bail.

Detectives are investigating Jackson in connection with other crimes, as well.

Additionally, Lawrence said detectives received dozens of phone calls over the weekend about Jackson, including from some people who claim to be victims of Jackson.

Anyone who has information about these cases should contact Detective Meredith Hopper at (503) 823-0865; meredith.hopper@portlandoregon.gov; or Detective Jim Lawrence at (503) 823-0867, james.lawrence@portlandoregon.gov.

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