Khanice Jackson's murder — a story of evil

EVERY murder is disturbing, even when a killer is murdered.

They may not all generate equal emotion, but they are all unsettling. Why? They all leave in their wake a mourner who wears dread on his or her face.

A mother losing her offspring can't process information like that. It's just not how mammals are made up.

Some murders hurt law enforcement officers more than others do. Some murders tear them to shreds. Khanice Jackson's murder was one that did that to me.

Was it because she was young? Most victims are, so no. Was it because she was beautiful? She was, but that isn't what shook me. It was because it was senseless!

Usually murders have defined motives. The most common is "dunce conflict" — that's gang conflict without any tangible gain. Sometimes murder is driven by one person's desire to steal another's possessions.

There is also, of course, murder driven by passion. However, in this case the victim and the perpetrator were not intimately involved. It is bewildering that someone who has no criminal history or history of violence could do something this extreme.

This was not a sex crime so why the hell did this loser feel the inclination to kill someone he was attracted to? It's inexplicable.

How could a monster like this live and breathe among us and hide his true self so well and for so long? What stopped him from doing something like this before? Or has he done it before without being found out? There are many unanswered questions.

The investigation was quite fascinating to observe. I have been involved in many criminal investigations in my career, some even before joining the police force. I wasn't involved in this one so I was just observing as the case moved through the various stages.

It was a lesson in homicide investigation. Most know of the tragedy and the outcome, few know how well it was investigated.

I was trained as a homicide investigator at the Metropolitan Police Training Institute in Miami, Florida. This is the training arm of the Miami-Dade Police Department. I received tuition from some of the greatest detectives in the United States of America (USA). Dr Henry Lee was one of them.

This may surprise you but there are Jamaican investigators who can match wits with the best anywhere in the world. When it comes to our environment, none of the investigators who lectured me overseas are better than Jamaican detectives Homer Morgan and Wayne Hunt. Their knowledge of our system and their acumen as investigators make them a formidable force.

There are also other great detectives in the St Catherine South Police Division so this sociopath didn't stand a chance.

Did you realise that within 24 hours of this suspect being taken into custody the investigators knew not only where he had dumped the body, but also every place he had moved it to?

They recovered the rope he used to commit the crime and the items he stole that were dumped in Kingston. They uncovered the murder scene, the method, and the motive.

My specialty is high-risk entry; I am a trained expert in this area. I am also a trained investigator, but I am always in awe when I see the patience and systematic adherence to procedures and protocols that are followed by the men and women who only do investigations.

It gives me an appreciation of why the top brass many years ago separated operations and operators from investigations, although I must admit that I didn't agree with the decision when it was taken.

Another extremity with this case was the formal press and their reaction to this murder. You felt their genuine interest and passion in getting to the bottom of it. Why this one and not others? It's hard to say. Maybe it was the family's pain that resonated with them.

The finality of death always jolts me. I have responded to hundreds of murders in my career. I have seen the still bodies and the broken relatives. Death is truly irreversible.

So why kill someone you desire, whose company you enjoy? Why did Robert Fowler kill Khanice Jackson?

It still haunts me — the irrationality of it, the evil, the total disregard for her life and her family's grief.

What also haunts me is the question of: Why can't we, in good conscience, execute this man? What right does he have to live and even be free one day whilst Khanice remains dead?

Does supporting the death penalty in cases such as this make me evil or a killer? Some would say so. However, they wouldn't say the same about their Parliamentarians who still refuse to repeal capital punishment.

If this man doesn't deserve death, no one does. I would hate to see him one day walk free.

Khanice's mother will never be free. I heard Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck speak to a 40-year minimum sentence for murder. I agree with him.

So is it something in our system that I don't understand that resulted in this animal getting a minimum before possibility of parole of only 22 years?

Is it because we fear the Privy Council reducing our sentences? Is it this same fear that prevents us from seeking the death penalty?

Normally I don't agree with courts sentencing people to death. Why? Because there is the possibility of error and they know they're not perfect. But I believe it should remain on the books and it should be used in specific circumstances.

Was this one such circumstance? Emotionally speaking, yes. That's the hate in me, that's the human in me. The pragmatist in me realises the risk. If the system had held out for the death penalty there would be no guilty plea and, despite overwhelming evidence, you could lose the case. How? Why?

The reason is that there are persons who will not participate in another's death. Sometimes it's for religious reasons, other times it's just a point of principle. This case, as good as it was, could have been lost if the wrong person or persons ended up on that jury.

People aren't practical when they truly believe or oppose something. I'm guilty of that myself. Try to argue criminal rights with me. I just can't see that point of view. Well, most people can't.

I am pleased and proud that the investigative team solved this case. You should be too. Don't take it for granted. This case could have played out in many other ways and that animal could have still been out there.

Who can say how many more people he would have killed? Who can say how many he may have killed before?

As a criminologist I ask myself: How can I spot the next Robert Fowler?

I can, with reasonable certainty, predict the future killers for 2036 in my police environment. It's not magic, it's simply studying specific households and what they have produced before.

If nothing changes they yield the same product, generation after generation. It's nurture, not nature.

On the other hand, I still can't figure out a formula for spotting a senseless sociopath like Robert Fowler — and that bothers me more than you can imagine. I guess I can see evil built, but not born.


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