Jury deadlocks on prison assault case

PORT ANGELES — A Clallam County jury could not reach a verdict on a felony assault case stemming from an alleged attack in the Clallam Bay Corrections Center.

Roy Purcell Jackson, who allegedly punched a corrections officer in the face last Oct. 7, returned to the West End prison Tuesday after a Clallam County Superior Court judge declared a mistrial.

“The jurors are hopelessly deadlocked,” Judge Lauren Erickson said.

Jackson, 31, was charged with one count of custodial assault, a Class C felony, for an alleged attack on corrections officer Michael Chandler.

The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office said Jackson entered a prison office where Chandler was working and punched him “at least five times” with a closed fist, according to the affidavit for probable cause.

Chandler had a swollen left ear and bloodshot eye but was not seriously injured, Deputy Cody Anderson wrote in his report.

Chandler told investigators that Jackson became agitated the day before the attack because the kitchen had not provided Jackson a halal meal, according to Anderson’s report. Chandler then provided a halal meal for Jackson, which Jackson did not eat.

Jackson was on a religious diet and had been receiving halal meals that are permissible in traditional Islamic law, court papers said.

“Today [Oct. 7], the kitchen had again forgotten to send Jackson’s special meal,” Anderson wrote in the probable cause affidavit.

“Jackson asked about it and [Chandler] told him he wasn’t going to go get it for him again and he could grieve the situation if he wished. Jackson had become agitated again.”

Jackson, who had trustee status and was working in the prison, retrieved some items and a grievance form from Chandler in an office in the prison’s D block when he suddenly attacked the lawman, according to Anderson’s account.

“Jackson immediately attacked [Chandler] while he was sitting,” Anderson wrote.

“Jackson had punched him in the left cheek, the left ear, had tried to punch him in the neck, and then several more times to the face.”

Corrections officer Hope Campbell, who corroborated Chandler’s statements in the probable cause affidavit, tried to pull Jackson off Chandler before Jackson left the room, Anderson said.

Jackson pleaded not guilty to custodial assault Feb. 15 and has maintained his innocence. He appeared in court Tuesday under the supervision of two state Department of Corrections officers wearing a tan-colored suit.

Jackson was arrested in May 2011 in connection with a shooting on a Metro bus in Kent, according to the Seattle Times.

Jackson was charged with first- and second-degree assault for critically wounding a SeaTac man in the shooting and threatening the bus driver at gunpoint, the Seattle Times reported.

The six-man, six-woman Clallam County jury began deliberations Tuesday morning.

The presiding juror reported at about 2:20 p.m. that the jury had reached an impasse. Erickson ordered the jury to continue deliberation until 4:15 p.m.

Erickson declared a mistrial after polling each member of the jury shortly before the courthouse closed at 4:30 p.m.

“The jury was unable to reach a verdict,” Erickson declared.

A new trial date is expected to be set at Jackson’s next court hearing May 24.

Charlie Commeree of Clallam Public Defender defended Jackson at trial and Clallam County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Steven Johnson represented the state.

“We were hoping for a conviction, obviously,” Johnson said Wednesday.

“But we have an opportunity to try again, and we are most likely going to take that opportunity.”

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected] dailynews.com.

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