Juror in Ocean Beach’s Jackson Murder Trial Opens Up on Reddit

by on June 11, 2019 · 1 comment

in Ocean Beach

A juror in the recent murder trial of Noah Mitchell Jackson who was found guilty May 31 of the stabbing death of Walter “Ras” Riley, a well-known Ocean Beach homeless man known as “the Incense Man”, has opened up on reddit and described his thoughts on the prosecution case and on Jackson’s background.

With a reddit handle alternating between “JurorNumber00” and “AfroCracker”, the person – whom we assume is being truthful – was a member of the jury that deliberated for nearly 2 and a half days, eventually finding Jackson guilty of second-degree murder for his unprovoked knife attack on Riley – which took place on June 22, 2017, on Bacon Street, near Newport Avenue after Jackson encountered Riley around 12:30 a.m.

The former juror plans to meet up with other former jurors on the anniversary of Ras’ death at the spot on Bacon Street, to pay homage to the Incense Man.

AfroCracker starts off:

I can only offer my opinions and my perspective on the crime and the evidence in the trial. I know this murder touched and affected many lives – the people who knew and loved “Ras”, the victim, as well as the family, friends and loved ones of Noah, the man that I believe committed the crime. It has had a powerful effect on me as well, and I hope that this conversation may move those interested at least in the direction of closure.

Then in a series of comments he adds:

So, the prosecution highlighted an event that had happened earlier in the evening that they believe contributed to the mindset that led to the eventual murder. The jury was not required to find or rely on a motive – we were just directed to determine the facts.

The facts indicated that Noah Jackson had been at a friends house around 10 pm and got into some sort of disagreement with his girlfriend. When she left he became upset – ‘distraught’ in the description of one witness. He broke his phone in anger, layed down in the street at one point in an apparent, if odd, suicide attempt and was apparently inconsolable. The people whose house he was at tried to get him to stay with them so that they could try to get him to calm down. Their efforts turned into a minor tussle with Noah, and the mom at the house called 911 just before 11 pm.

Apparently he stewed on things for a while at or near his girlfriend’s house, where he lived, then headed down Newport Ave a little after midnight. If you believe one of the prosecution witnesses, he phoned this friend about 00:13 (13 minutes after midnight) and said he was going to “fuck somebody up” and did his friend want to come along. The friend declined but called back about 13 minutes later – just after the murder.

There is about 9 or 10 minutes of grainy video from the Arizona Cafe that shows the person in a light hoodie walk past Ras then come back and speak with him for several minutes. Ras walks away out of the view of the camera and is followed by the person wearing the hoodie – Noah. A minute or two later Ras walks back to his spot and is followed by his assailant. They speak for a bit longer (there was no audio on the video) then there were several quick jabs and the final fatal blow.

It really saddens me to think that Ras lost his life because a kid who was angry about a fight with his girlfriend and wanted to take that anger out on someone found Ras on the street. But I think that’s what it was. I’m afraid that’s about as much as I know about a motive.

There was apparently a substantial amount of drug use along the way. Noah is captured in a secret recording making a $300 weed sale while talking with a trusted mentor about the murder and his state of mind. In the recording Noah said he was taking a lot of Xanaz to forget him. (We think the ‘him’ was Ras). He had contacted the mentor/friend to see if he might help him procure heroin. He had been taking Oxycontin and was apparently ready for a more potent form of psychic relief. There was no indication that he ever procured or used heroin in the trial.

He ends with some of his philosophic views:

Human beings – Homo Sapiens – first started showing up about 200,000 years ago. Over the vast majority of that time we lived in small groups of 20-50 individuals. We hunted and gathered to survive. Everyone in the group knew every other member personally. If you were a big enough jerk, you’d start losing the benefits of the group – maybe you wouldn’t get as much food – maybe other forms of ostracization.

So, we’re wired for cooperation, and on a more philosophical level, I think we’re mostly wired for compassion. But there have always been, and there always will be aberrations. I can’t get in anyone’s head, but people do weird shit occasionally, and I’m not sure the one doing the weird stuff could even explain why they did it.

I think we’re wired for making excuses too – you know “hey man, share some of that water buffalo you guys just killed – I was only helping your wife adjust her beads.”

Finally, there is plenty of evidence that the impulse control provided by the frontal lobe of our brains isn’t really fully developed until we’re around 25.

So, while I think Mr. Jackson committed the act, I don’t know that his brain was working in a way that we might consider normal in terms of his appreciation for the full impact of his act. There was a lengthy conversation about 1st and second degree.

We were told nothing about any history of violence in any respect except for his outburst the night of the murder – the smashing the phone in anger. But some of the kids he hung out with considered rolling bums a not-too-big-a-deal. I can’t get in a persons head, again, but I’m not sure he had fully embraced the values that keep a society functioning.

I read later that Ras moved here from Ohio. I don’t know about any family. One of the brutally sad facts in the case was that we saw lots of pictures of Mr. Jackson in several settings in his life, while all we ever saw (and I’ll I’ve been able to find since) is a single picture of Ras that was on his ID. The murder took place two years ago on June 22nd, and several of the jurors are planning on meeting at the site on that date this year as a way to show our respect for Ras. Many people in OB knew and, I would say without shame, loved Ras. I didn’t know him, but I do know that except for the roll of the cosmic dice, I could be him. I felt his loss.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

ZZ June 11, 2019 at 2:16 pm

I chatted with Ras for a little while only a month or two before his death. He told me about how he kept a healthy diet (I think he said vegetarian but not positive) and about how when he moved to San Diego he owned classic cars.


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