JACOB GOES TO WACO ON DECEMBER 7 FOR HIS EVIDENTIARY HEARING
HE NEEDS ALL YOUR PRAYERS AND SUPPORT
PLEASE JOIN HIM AT THE WACO COURTHOUSE
PLEASE BE THERE BY 7:30AM
COURT OPENS AT 8:30AM
Imagine living in a prison longer than you lived out of prison. Imagine again, you are innocent and do not belong in prison. Every single day, every hour, every minute is an injustice. Even the smallest things we take for granted, silence, being left alone with our thoughts, fluffing up a nice pillow, saying hi to our neighbors, imagine having none of that and imagine thinking you may never have any of it. Imagine entering prison as a small 15 year old boy, a prison filled with racial gangs who look for weaker smaller people they can force to do their bidding. Imagine having to fight for your life literally every day, surrounded by unimaginable cruelty, indifferent guards, deprivation of the soul. Imagine how you would face this at 15 or at any age. That is what Jacob Blackmon faced and somehow he did not succumb but lived to tell us about it in his remarkable book. And now he seeks our help to right this terrible injustice done to him.
This is the story and a plea for help from a young man named Jacob Blackmon who has been locked up since he was 15 and given 40 to life for capital murder that he did not commit. Now he is 36 years old, he has spent more time in prison than out.
There are many exoneration stories reported these days, people wrongly convicted whose cause was taken up because someone recanted trial testimony, sometimes many years later. But in Jacob's case, people quickly recanted but no justice came from it. His is a voice crying in the wilderness.
Let me share some of Jacob's story with you, a young man who has not quit fighting for his freedom and has done everything he knows how to get his story out.
His case began in January 1994. One night, Jacob was at the house of a man named Ray, helping him repo cars to make money because Jacob lived with his older brothers, 17 and 19. That night he did crank for the first time but what Jacob didn't know was that Ray was gay and during that night, he drugged the 15-yr-old's drink. Jacob was knocked out but only to wake up briefly, in a daze, with his pants down, and woke up again not knowing what happened but knowing he was violated. Jake tried to get up but everything was blurry. As Ray walked in, he told Ray he needed to leave, afraid of what this grown man would do to him. Ray told him to lie back down while he got some more crank. Somehow, Jacob was able to stumble up and run out the door.
When Jake got home he was so ashamed of what happened, he cried. His brother Tim and his best friend (also Tim) came to the house and asked Jake to go with them to find some girls. Jake thought that by having sex with a girl he would still have his manhood. Little did he know that that night would turn into a nightmare. As they were on their way to these girls' house, Tim Stone saw two guys coming out of a bar and came up with the idea to rob them. He asked Jake to do it. Jake refused; he didn't want anything to do with it and pushed the gun back to Tim Stone. That night a man's life was taken, but also another young man's life was taken, Jacob Blackmon. As Jacob's brother pulled up to the two guys, Jake lay down in the front seat still high from the drink and miserable from the molestation earlier. Tim Stone called one of the guys to the car, pointed a gun at him and demanded his money. Words were said and the next thing, Jake heard the car door open; Tim got out and went to one of the guys. Then there was a gunshot and Tim Stone jumping back into the car. Jake's brother quickly drove off.
Later they found out from neighbors that the gun that night killed the man.
As time went by, Stone talked to Tim (Jake's brother) and they came up with the idea that if they get caught, to let Jake take the blame because Jake was only 15 so nothing would happen to him.
In February Tim, Jake's brother was arrested at a drug store and taken to the county jail. During that time a detective came to talk with him about his car that may have been where the murder took place. Tim told the detective he knew nothing about it. But later on, he called the detective and made four different statements and put the blame on his 15 year old brother, thinking nothing would happen to him. Jacob's brother suffered from depression and other mental problems (documented).
On Feb 21, 1994, Jacob was arrested at 16:08 (4:08 PM) hours by Detective Jerry Wilson. In a violation of the Texas Family Code Section 52.02(b) (see further discussion of this on the Legal page), Jake was not taken to the juvenile center but to the Waco Police Department so the detective could do whatever he wanted to get a statement. With no parent or lawyer present at the time, Jake refused to talk and was later taken to the Juvenile Center. He was logged in at 6:22 PM (18:22). It shows from the first day that Detective Wilson picked up Jake he was lying because the police report shows he picked up 16:08 not 6:08 pm as he testified on the stand, and a violation under the Family Code. You might think, 16:08, 6:08, what's the difference? But it shows how cavalier Wilson was with the truth.
Before I go further, let me explain this: Jacob lived in Waco and Baylor University dominates Waco, a small town otherwise undistinguished. The young man that died that night was a Baylor student; as you read the facts, where Jake clearly shows he did not kill anyone that night will also show he was a victim, an average kid, no money, no help, but his life rested in a court-appointed lawyer who was a Baylor law school graduate and whose parents had a $2 million endowment at Baylor. The judge was also a Baylor graduate. The jury was not questioned about their relation to Baylor except whether they worked there. The jury was not sequestered; it is improbable that no one talked with them about the death of the Baylor student. It was the first time a Baylor student died like that and would have been the talk of the campus and the town. Even if no jurors worked at Baylor, it is unlikely people in their family had no relation to Baylor.
Jacob was picked up from the Juvenile Center by Detective Wilson and was taken to the Waco PD, in violation of the Texas Family Law section 609(a). Jacob asked repeatedly for his parents but the Wilson lied and said he called them but couldn't get a hold of them. Jacob's probation officer took the stand and testified that Jake told her in front of his mother that he wanted to make a statement that later both Jake and his mother would deny on the stand. The probation officer said she called Detective Wilson and that was why he came to get Jacob. Later the truth came out that both lied on the stand because the Detective Wilson's police report says it was solely his idea to talk to Jacob. There was no call from the probation officer. Detective Wilson called her briefly before he left the PD to get Jake at the Juvenile Center. Again, these may sound like tiny slips of the tongue but this is testimony in capital murder criminal trial where the truth is crucial.
Since the sole tape recorder at the Waco PD was apparently broken (yes, I know, rather hard to believe), Wilson handwrote the confession. During Jake's 3 and a half hour interrogation Wilson said if Jake didn't sign the confession, Wilson would arrest his mother. He told the same thing to Jake's brother Tim. During the entire interrogation both of Jacob's parents were at the PD but Wilson refused to stop the interrogation to allow the parents to see their son, let alone permit Jake to see a lawyer, both violation of his rights under Waco Police policy and the U.S. Constitution (Miranda). Almost immediately after signing the statement Jake was taken to a traffic violation judge. Jake told him he did not understand his statement but was told by the Judge to sign it and talk about it with his lawyer, a lawyer Jake didn't see until 40 days later, one week before his certification hearing (to determine if he should stand trial as an adult). Jake recanted the confession immediately after signing it. Perhaps false confessions were not well understood in the 1990s but they are now. They are not uncommon and there are many articles and stories of people who falsely confessed to murder and rape only to be later exonerated (but not always).
Note that Jacob appeared before a judge and ordered to sign something he did not understand. If our justice system means anything it has to mean that vulnerable people are protected. Why wasn't there a lawyer there to assist Jacob and explain what the significance of this was? It makes you wonder why they even bothered with a trial at all.
Jake's brother Tim, facing the same threats, also signed several statements, but, after the trial recanted at enormous cost to himself. At Jacob's motion for a new trial Tim told the truth and said he lied at Jake's trial due to threats from the D.A., that he was also going to be charged with capital murder and the D.A. would seek the death penalty. For telling the truth now, Jake's brother was given 10 years for perjury and Jake's motion for a new trial was denied.
If all this seems contrived or implausible, realize that there are other articles about the corruption of the Waco Police Department and the McLennan County DA's office (See Texas Monthly, "The Murders at the Lake" and "Examining a 31-Year-Old Murder Case".)
Other people testified hearing Tim Stone bragging about killing Mr. Schumacher.
The Farce of a Trial
There were four people at the crime scene: the surviving Schumacher brother, Jake, Jake's brother and Tim Stone. But during the trial Jake's lawyer never called Stone to take the stand. Neither did the D.A. The description of the shooter by the victim's brother, who was standing 10 feet away at the time, and made a sketch of the shooter, with spiked hair, standing shorter than the victim, who was 5'9, and looked like he had a few days growth of beard on his face. The victim's brother took the stand and at no time did he identify Jake as the man who killed his brother. His sketch matched Tim Stone and looks nothing like Jake. Jake was taller, at 5'10, than the victim; his hair was not spiked and he couldn't yet grow facial hair. Jake begged his lawyer to call Stone, but he didn't. How in a capital murder case could one of the major participants not be called to testify?
Furthermore, Jake's lawyer never explained to the jury how someone could confess wrongly to a murder. His lawyer interviewed none of the witnesses and the juvenile judge who took the stand and said he made a designated room at the Waco PD to take juvenile's statements and the detective did everything by the book, at the motion to suppress Jake's statement. Jake's lawyer never did any investigating because recently we just found out the judge lied on the stand because here was in fact not a room at the Waco PD for interrogation juveniles at that time. And the judge should have known because later on, he was the one who created it.
But the worst was yet to come.
Near the end of the trial, the DA brought in a surprise "rebuttal" witness, Jake's coach at his former middle school, Edward Echols. Echols testified that Jake called him from jail. Echols was at school; he said in his trial testimony he was told of the call and took it. Jake and Echols were not friends or even close. Echols said during the call Jake confessed to the shooting because he thought the man had a gun. That was the first time such a statement was mentioned. Jake says he did call Echols, but only through his father's common law wife. And furthermore, Jake says he could only make collect calls from the jail. I spoke with the jail and they confirmed this is their policy, only collect calls, and has been for decades (see the Trial page for more on this. And furthermore, I confirmed with the school district that no one at the school can accept collect calls. So, it seems like Echols was less than honest and may have lied, certainly about how the call was made.
Margie, his father's girlfriend, set up the call because Echols was known to help boys in need. Jake called her and she did a 3-way call to Echols. Of course, why would Jake, who had already recanted, again make a confession to Echols, someone he wasn't close to and now bring up a gun? This is all extremely convenient for the prosecution. Perhaps they felt their case may have been weak? They didn't have to worry because Jake's lawyer, Hurley, did not call Jake to rebut this testimony; nor did Hurley call Margie to testify that the call was to her and to testify as to what Jake said. Jake begged him but he didn't call either Jake or Margie to the stand to rebut Echols. People in Waco are afraid (and still afraid) to stand up against the police and DA. I am beginning to see why.
Not only did this false testimony of Echols put the final nail into Jake's coffin but, being unrebutted, it was used by the Appellate Court to deny Jake's appeal. Jake's lawyer may as well have worked for the D.A.
Since Jake was in prison, he has grown up. He has never given up on his case, he has sent his story to many lawyers but without money, there is no help. Appellate work is very expensive, often far more so than the original trial. The appellate attorney must examine all the original documentation, sometimes not easy to find. He must examine the trial and police work from the standards of the law as it then was, but also applying later court rulings if applicable. This is a complex process. People move away, people die, people forget. It is difficult and expensive, but it can and has been done. Sometimes an innocent person like Jake captures the attention of various innocence groups. But lacking DNA (or even a gun; none was found), most innocence projects do not have the money to pursue other cases. Even DNA, conclusive as it is, may not be a slam dunk.
Jake has written his autobiography, "Captured by Love and Forgiveness," which should be available soon. It recounts his childhood up to the time he was arrested, tried and convicted at 15 and what happened to him afterwards when he was sent to prison, a frightened child among adults. His is a story of trying to survive the horrors of Texas prisons. A chance meeting led him to giving his life to Jesus, but even that wasn't easy for him. This is not an easy story with an easy ending. It is complex; a childhood of petty crime and drugs and murder, and extremely aggressive interrogation of juveniles, recanted confessions, one at great cost to the person, sloppy justice, and the power of dominating organization in a small community and how a teen was able to survive in a Texas prison.
Jake's story is emblematic of the serial failures of our justice system. Show trials, forced confessions, judge, lawyers and jury on one side and the defendant on the other and through all this cruelty and unfairness, Jake has remained a loving man, kind to others. As it says in James 1:12: "Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him."
A Letter from Jacob Blackmon
My name is Jacob Blackmon. I am currently incarcerated at Polunsky unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. I am 35 years old and recently completely 20 years of a life sentence for a capital murder I DID NOT COMMIT. I was certified as an adult at the age of 15 and convicted on a charge for which I am required to serve 40 flat calendar years before ever being eligible for parole. It still amazes me how the State of Texas will lock children up and throw away the key when adults who did worse crimes get shorter sentences. I have spent more time in prison than I did on the streets. The thing I have never been able to grasp is when a person as myself does everything to show his innocence, it is so very hard to be heard. I have submitted my case to many innocence programs only to be turned away because my case offers no DNA.
I was once told I was a voice in the wilderness crying out to be heard and that is so very true. But I only pray after you read everything on this web site that you will be a voice for the voiceless and help make a change not only in my life but with other young kids placed in prison to never again see the outside of these prison walls. I am eligible for parole after doing 40 years and I'll be 56 and that's not to say I will even make parole.
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking time out of your day to read about me and my story. I am asking for help with my case and any logical person looking objectively at my case and the things you read on this web site will see that I should not be here. The thing that has given me the strength to make it is my faith in Jesus Christ. I pray you read the book and share it with others. Once again, thanks so very much for reading this and I look forward to reading and responding to any questions you ask. I want to thank you from the depths of my heart for your attention to my cry for assistance in this matter.
Jacob Allen Blackmon