Tuesday, October 3, 2000

Spokane

'No one would believe me'
Jackson says he found daughter dead and buried her out of fear
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Kevin Blocker
Staff writer

photo
Shawn Jacobson - The Spokesman-Review
Brad Jackson describes holding Valiree after she had a nightmare. He said he returned shortly after, only to find his daughter dead.

Spokane _ Brad Jackson thought he would be called a liar if he reported his daughter's death.

"I knew I didn't do anything, but I knew no one would believe me," Jackson said Monday.

He testified that on the morning he reported Valiree Jackson missing, he was awakened by her crying. He went to her room and comforted her after she told him she had a nightmare. She then went back to sleep, he said.

Unable to do so himself, Jackson said he later went back to Valiree's room to check on her.

"I went back and saw blood on her pillow," Jackson said. "I tried to wake her up, I turned the bedroom light on, but she didn't move. She didn't stir. I shook her. ... there was nothing."

Prosecutors are scheduled to cross-examine Jackson this morning. Testimony is expected to conclude later today, and Judge James Murphy expects attorneys to present their closing arguments Wednesday.

Jackson, 34, is accused of killing Valiree, burying her south of the Spokane Valley
, then exhuming her remains and placing them in a shallow grave in Stevens County last October.

Detectives found the grave by planting a tracking device on Jackson's vehicle. On Oct. 18, he reported her missing from his parents' Valley home, where he and Valiree lived.

Defense attorney Jim Kane has argued that Valiree died from an overdose of the prescription drug Paxil, an anti-depressant. He said Jackson became irrational when she died, which led him to bury and then rebury the girl.

Jackson said on Monday that he didn't consider a Paxil overdose as a possible cause of Valiree's death until defense attorneys raised the possibility. Jackson did not say what he thought caused Valiree's death when he found her on Oct. 18.

Jackson's voice cracked at times during 31/2 hours on the stand though he never cried.

His parents and siblings became so emotional when they testified last week that Murphy briefly stopped court proceedings for each of them to gather their composure.

In testimony, Jackson said he took action instead of calling 911 immediately.

He testified that he removed Valiree's pajamas and dressed her body in school clothes. Jackson put her next to him in the front seat of his truck and started driving.

"I needed to hide her and have some time to think," he said.

Jackson went to a wooded site south of the Valley, dug a grave and placed a plastic shopping bag over Valiree's head to keep insects off her, he said.

"Valiree hated bugs," Jackson said.

Jackson drove back to his parents' home, went to Valiree's room and hugged her teddy bear, he said.

Jackson said he next put Valiree's backpack on the front porch, hoping it would appear as though she had been outside and was getting ready for school. Then he ran frantically through the neighborhood asking if anyone had seen Valiree.

"I knew I screwed up really bad," Jackson said. "I knew I couldn't bring her back."

Valiree's body had been decomposing almost a month when Jackson removed it, wrapped it, put it in the front seat of his pickup and drove to Stevens County.

When he arrived near Springdale on Nov. 10 to rebury Valiree, Jackson said he placed her face down because he didn't want dirt to get on her face.

"I know this will sound silly, but I was kind of hoping there would be an air pocket there," Jackson said.

Before Jackson took the stand, defense witness Dr. Edward Ezrailson -- a toxicologist from Houston who never examined Valiree's body -- told the jury he believed Paxil caused her overdose.

But on cross-examination from deputy prosecutor Larry Steinmetz, Ezrailson, a biochemist, admitted he never heard of anyone else suffering a Paxil overdose.


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