MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 29-year-old Cass Lake man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for killing a 4-year-old boy in Inger, Minnesota last year.
According to the Itasca County Attorney’s Office, Kevin Daniel Jackson, from Deer River, was sentenced on Friday to 180 months in prison — or 15 years — after he previously pleaded guilty to second-degree unintentional murder.
“The Itasca County Attorney’s Office extends continued sympathy to the victim’s family,” the attorney’s office said.
The criminal complaint says on Aug. 21, 2019, officers were called to the home on a report of an unresponsive child, who was soon pronounced dead at the scene. Officers noticed bruising near the boy’s eyes, which is common when people are fatally smothered.
Investigators first spoke to the child’s uncle, who said he heard the boy crying inside the home a couple hours earlier, and later saw him covered in a blanket, face down on a couch. He says he then saw Jackson, the boyfriend of the boy’s mother, wearing rubber gloves and standing over the boy. Jackson then said, “Uck,” as if to express disgust, before taking off the gloves. The uncle later heard the boy crying again, and saw Jackson holding the boy.
A while later, the uncle heard his sister screaming at Jackson. He entered the room and saw her giving the boy CPR, while Jackson was sitting on the floor, screaming and “acting weird.” The uncle told investigators Jackson had a history of drug abuse, and seemed to be under the influence while he was staying at the home the past couple days.
Deputies soon found Jackson sitting, and screaming, on a trampoline behind the home. Jackson eventually told them he had been staying at a treatment center before coming to stay with his girlfriend. Jackson didn’t tell investigators what had led up to the boy’s death, and he was taken into custody.
When deputies interviewed the boy’s mother, she revealed that she had slept most of the day after using methamphetamine with Jackson the night before. She said Jackson got into bed with her an hour before she discovered her son’s body, and was crying and apologizing. She eventually left the room and found her son wrapped in blankets.
Besides the injuries associated with suffocation, the medical examiner said the boy had neck bruises and a nose abrasion.
Jackson has an extensive criminal record, including convictions for assault, theft and fleeing law enforcement. He was on probation for a 2015 drug offense, which he had violated nine times.
The 180-month sentence is consistent with the plea agreement.