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Man with gun record sought for woman's murder in Roslindale Square


Akil Jackson.

Live Boston reports police are looking for Akil Jackson, 41, in connection with the shooting murder of Alicia Heywood in Roslindale Square on July 29.

Heywood lived in South Easton after moving from Hyde Park.

Police thought they had Jackson cornered in an apartment in Dorchester's Adams Village the day after the murder, but after a five-hour SWAT search that lasted five hours and led to nearby residents being evacuated, concluded he wasn't there.

In 2011, Jackson pleaded guilty to being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and was sentenced to two years in federal prison for an incident at the Amtrak station in Rensselaer, NY - three months longer than prosecutors had requested. He was waiting for a train when he spotted a sheriff's deputy with a dog sniffing around the station and he failed to convince a station worker to stow his bag on account of the marijuana inside; the dog led the deputy to his bag and, on a search, it was found to contain both marijuana and a gun, according to court records.

In a sentencing recommendation, a prosecutor explained how Jackson came to be a convicted felon:

Although only 31 years old, the Defendant's has 8 different arrests, not including the instant offense of conviction. He has been convicted of 6 different misdemeanors and 1 violation. Significantly ... on November 6, 2006, he pled guilty to carrying a stolen concealed .380 caliber firearm. In addition, while on pre-trial release, it is significant that ... the Defendant was in Charlestown, Ma, and was arrested in possession of cocaine, a large bag of marijuana, and a sawed off Remington .22 rifle. He was subsequently convicted [in 2009] of possessing with intent to distribute cocaine and the felony possession of a firearm.

Jackson's attorney asked for a sentence at the lower end of the scale - the minimum sentence for the crime is 18 months - saying all his criminal acts could be traced to the PTSD he developed while in the army in Afghanistan in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and that before the war, he was a studious young man who had been accepted to Boston Latin Academy before the relatives who had taken him in from his broken home sent him to North Carolina to keep him off the mean streets of Boston:

Mr. Jackson's experience in Afghanistan had a significant impact upon him. He experienced the chaotic and lethal violence within Afghan civilian communities. One event seared into his memory involved a young boy who shot and killed another Afghan civilian in the street. The young boy was then immediately shot dead by a U.S. soldier. He witnessed the deadly human toll, observing the broken and dismembered bodies of dead U.S. soldiers and Afghan civilians, both in the course of his duty in Afghanistan and while hospitalized there for his knee injury.

Prior to Mr. Jackson's war zone experience, he had no serious criminal history. His only legal transgression was a minor shoplifting incident on base in 2001.

Mr. Jackson's outlook after his return from Afghanistan was grim. He did not believe he would live very long, and he did not expect have a normal life. Following his discharge from the Army in February of 2004, as his criminal history reflects, his behavior became more erratic. His actions were consistent with those of a person suffering psychologically and self-medicating with marijuana. After he lost a job and learned unexpectedly that he would be a father, he believed he was not up to all that life required of him. He attempted suicide. Police intervention ultimately prevented that. ...

Since his discharge and until this case, he has had trouble maintaining employment and steady relationships. He has suffered from the many symptoms that arise from post-traumatic stress disorder, including anxiety and depression, the inability to sleep, social isolation, irritability. As the report from the Boston Vet Center ... notes, Mr. Jackson's history since his experience in Afghanistan reflects that he suffers from PTSD. The symptoms from that disorder at times have affected him severely. He also has been rated disabled as a result of service-connected PTSD. Mr. Jackson's involvement in this case and the case in Charlestown, Massachusetts are part of that continuum. When Mr. Jackson was arrested in this case, he was using marijuana on a regular basis. For no good reason, he possessed a firearm. His conduct reflected the same influences as the history that developed after Afghanistan.

Innocent, etc.



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Reading that history made me see this very differently. He's now a murderer and must go away for that crime, but it seems he never got the care he needed for the mental damage that was done to him in the military.

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that you've already convicted him of murder...even before a trial started no less.

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So like Gary C, unless I am impaneled on the trial, it looks like he’s the guy who killed her.

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She did not have to die. This sounds like it could be a domestic incident; too many women are terrorized or/and killed by abusers with guns. I hope Akil Jackson is arrested soon.

But what strikes me is that, irrespective of how compelling you find Jackson’s attorney’s 2011 argument for leaniency, perhaps we should rethink our propensity of taking traumatized young men and sending them into overseas combat that both traumatizes them further and teaches them comfort, familiarity with and dependency on firearms before returning them to a country where firearms are venerated and flow as if they were milk and honey. There are multiple layers of poison here and we as a country have absolutely no interest in addressing a single one. We literally don’t give a sh*t.

Alicia Heywood, you did not have to die.

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So sad that this tragedy happened in my old neighborhood in Roslindale, and to find out the victim was living in my new neighborhood of Easton is just heartbreaking. I pray for peace and healing....

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