CINCINNATI – Three defendants pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court today to several crimes relating to a September 2019 shooting and a conspiracy to bribe the shooting victim to recant his identification of the shooter.
Darias Jackson, 32, pleaded guilty to illegally possessing ammunition, conspiring to commit perjury, and witness tampering. Jackson’s brother, Gregory Jackson, 45, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit witness tampering and witness tampering, and Jackson’s girlfriend, Jessica Brown, 31, pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact and to making illegal gratuity payments to a witness.
According to court documents, in September 2019, a man was shot several times outside an apartment complex in Cincinnati. Officers found nine 9mm casings at the scene.
After receiving life-saving emergency surgery, the gunshot victim identified Darias Jackson as the person who had shot him. The victim’s identification was corroborated by a video taken moments before the shooting, which depicted a man—identified by witnesses as Jackson—in a heated argument with the victim at the scene of the crime.
The Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office charged Jackson with state crimes related to the shooting. And because Jackson, a felon, was on federal supervised release at the time of the shooting, his probation officer also charged him with violating the terms of his release.
Shortly thereafter, Jackson, his brother Gregory Jackson, and his girlfriend, Jessica Brown, in an effort to thwart the state and federal charges against him, devised a plan to bribe the gunshot victim to recant his identification of Jackson as the person who had shot him. The three paid the victim $7,000 upfront, promised another $8,000 after all charges were dismissed, and had him sign a typewritten affidavit from his hospital bed.
In December 2019, Jackson’s state defense attorney filed a motion to dismiss the state charges and attached the victim’s affidavit as an exhibit. In January 2020, when the victim did not appear for trial, the state charges against Jackson were dismissed without prejudice, and he was transferred to federal custody on the pending petition alleging he had violated his federal supervised release.
While supervised release proceedings were pending, the federal government continued to investigate the shooting, including by obtaining dozens of search warrants and subpoenaing Brown to testify before the federal grand jury. On a recorded jail call, Jackson instructed Brown not to cooperate with the investigation and to lie to the grand jury if she did not feel comfortable answering certain questions. The next day, Brown testified falsely before the grand jury.
A few months later, the victim contacted the brother, Gregory Jackson, about the second half of the bribery payment the victim was still owed. The victim also contacted Brown about the payment, asserting that he had already done what he was supposed to do to get Jackson’s charges dismissed. Brown explained to the victim that, although things were “all good” with the state charges, “the feds [had] picked up the case.”
In his plea today, Jackson admitted he possessed the nine rounds of ammunition used to shoot the victim. Having previously been convicted of a federal drug-trafficking conspiracy, he was prohibited from possessing ammunition. Jackson and his co-defendants also admitted to the conspiracy to bribe the shooting victim.
Conspiracy to tamper with a witness and tampering with a witness each carry a potential maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Illegally possessing ammunition as a convicted felon is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Conspiring to commit perjury is a federal crime punishable by up to five years in prison. Being an accessory after the fact to providing an illegal gratuity to a witness is a federal crime punishable by up to one year in prison.