A Down East man shot by a Marine Patrol officer last December has been indicted on multiple charges related to the events leading up to the Machiasport shooting.
Earlier this week, the Washington County grand jury indicted Jason Jackson, 34, on eight charges related to his armed confrontation with Officer Matthew Carter Dec. 9, 2017, and three charges for an alleged home invasion that occurred earlier that day. The charges include robbery, burglary and criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon.
The indictments — one for each event that day — come after the East Machias man began the initial steps to file a civil lawsuit related to injuries he suffered in the shooting.
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In a March 27 notice of claim addressed to the law enforcement officers and agencies involved in the case, Jackson’s civil lawyer, Tim Kenlan, laid out the first formal allegation that Carter used “deadly force in a negligent, unreasonable, unnecessary, reckless, and excessive manner” when he shot Jackson in the back, left elbow and ankle.
Carter also shot Jackson’s ex-girlfriend, Tiffany Smith, who was holding Jackson in a “fetal position” when the shooting occured, Kenlan said. She also has filed an intent to sue, according to her lawyer, Don Brown.
The March 27 document reserves Jackson’s right to later sue in state court, and Kenlan said Wednesday that he intends to file a lawsuit in September.
The claims in the March document are based on police reports and official statements by law enforcement who were present the night the shooting occurred, Kenlan said. He obtained the reports because they are part the criminal evidence in the pending case against Jackson related to his alleged activities that resulted in the multiple indictments this week.
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On the evening of Dec. 9, 2017, police allegedly chased Jackson to Smith’s duplex at 33 Corn Hill Road in Machiasport because he was a suspected in a home invasion and attempted robbery earlier that day in East Machias.
Carter was one of the responding officers and, sometime after police arrived, confronted Jackson, who was armed with a revolver, on an upper balcony inside the duplex, according to law enforcement.
In previous interviews, Kenlan told the BDN that Jackson was in throes of a mental crisis and had complied with Carter’s orders to drop a revolver he was holding, and that Jackson was “essentially lying in Tiffany’s lap” in a fetal position when Carter allegedly shot him. Smith’s lawyer, Don Brown, said his client told him the same thing.
But Carter told investigators the opposite — that Jackson had grown agitated and reached for his gun before he was shot, according to District Attorney Matt Foster, who is prosecuting the criminal case against Jackson.
Carter said he was about 10 to 15 feet away from Jackson and Smith when he shot them, Kenlan said, citing the police documents.
Carter has repeatedly declined to comment while the shooting is investigated by the a ttorney g eneral’s office, which is protocol for every use of deadly force by a Maine law enforcement officer.
Carter is a part-time Washington County sheriff’s deputy, but was not acting on behalf of the sheriff’s office that night, according to Chief Deputy Michael Crabtree. In the wake of the shooting, Carter was placed on administrative leave but has since returned to work.
Jackson is suing for at least $7.5 million in compensation for his “permanent, lifelong injuries,” one of which resulted in the amputation of his left arm, Kenlan said. However, that figure serves more as a ballpark goal for Jackson, who is not permitted to put a specific amount on the complaint he intends to file this fall, according to Kenlan.
Brown was not able to immediately provide the details of the lawsuit his client intends to file, but said Smith is also seeking up to $10 million in damages for her injuries.
Jackson’s criminal defense lawyer, Matthew Erickson, has not responded to several requests for comment about his client’s criminal case. Foster, the district attorney for Washington County, said in February that he and Erickson worked out a deal to place Jackson under house arrest instead of in jail because of the nature of his injuries.
Jackson is expected to be arraigned in Machias District Court later this month, but a date has not yet been set. It could happen before or during a dispositional conference that is scheduled for July 24, according to the clerk’s office.
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