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Trev Jackson guilty of trying to murder police officer
As deputies led Trev Bowies Jackson II from the courtroom Thursday morning moments after jurors found him guilty of trying to murder a Northern Regional police officer, he turned to his family and waved goodbye.
"Are you all right?" one of them asked. Jackson said yes, he was OK.
But chief deputy prosecutor Dave Sunday said the "true blessing" is that Jackson's target, Northern York County Regional Police Officer Lynn Anderson Jr., is alive.
Sunday said this case shows that, on a daily basis, every police officer "is in a situation where they could be shot and killed."
Anderson, now 30, declined comment as he left the courtroom.
His boss, Chief Mark Bentzel, said Anderson went straight to work after the verdict was announced.
York County police, prosecutors, private attorneys and court staff packed Courtroom 7002 to hear the verdict, which took jurors 4½ hours over two days to reach.
Guilty of all charges: They found Jackson guilty of attempted first-degree murder, assault on a law-enforcement officer and reckless endangerment. They also found him guilty of burglary, theft and receiving stolen property for breaking into a shed and stealing a bicycle to make his escape.
Court spectators included a number of police officers who, like Anderson, serve on the York County Quick Response Team, a SWAT-type unit. Dressed in camouflage — they said they had training Thursday — several of them squeezed into the front row next to Anderson, while a couple of others took seats where they could find them.
Jackson, 25, who was raised on York City's south side, is scheduled to be sentenced at 2:30 p.m. April 25, and he is facing a lengthy prison term.
The charge of assaulting a law-enforcement officer carries a mandatory 20- to 40-year sentence, Sunday confirmed. The attempted murder charge also carries a 20- to 40-year sentence, and the prosecutor confirmed he will ask the sentencing judge to run the counts consecutively.
Citing Jackson's attack on Anderson and a criminal history that began with robbery at a school dance when Jackson was 13, Sunday said Jackson shouldn't be turned loose on society.
'Slam dunk': Bentzel admitted he was nervous as jury deliberations carried over from Wednesday afternoon into Thursday morning.
"From my perspective ... I thought it was a slam dunk," he said of the prosecution's case, adding he's sure the verdict has provided relief to Anderson and his family.
Bentzel said he hopes Jackson receives the maximum possible sentence.
"This is a bad dude," the chief said. "I don't care if he never gets out of jail."
Defense attorney Davis Younts said he will review appeal issues with Jackson. He said his client has faith in the criminal-justice system, which is why he chose to testify in his own defense Wednesday.
"He understood that when he took the stand, he was putting his future in the hands of the jury," Younts said.
The background: Anderson pulled over Jackson for drifting between lanes and not using his turn signal about 10 p.m. Nov. 22, 2015, at Rita's Italian Ice in the Crossroads Shopping Center along Route 30 in Manchester Township.
Anderson said he could smell marijuana in the car and that Jackson dropped his driver's license on the ground when asked for it.
"It was an indication to me that something wasn't right," he told jurors — that something "was afoot."
Northern York County Regional Police officer Lynn Anderson escapes injury in this dash camera video.
He asked Jackson to step out of his car, and Jackson complied.
But almost immediately, Jackson spun around and fired at Anderson. The bullet was so close to the officer it left powder burns on his face and in his right eye.
Anderson — who told jurors he didn't immediately know if he'd been shot in the face — dove for cover, with Jackson firing twice more at him before jumping back in his car and fleeing.
Anderson returned fire, hitting Jackson in the left hand.
Caught on video: During Anderson's testimony Tuesday, jurors watched dashboard camera video from his cruiser, which showed the entire encounter.
The video shows Jackson getting out of his car and quickly turning and firing at Anderson from just inches away.
Jackson fled York County, spurring a five-month manhunt during which police posted "wanted" billboards of him that offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
He was eventually captured by U.S. marshals in Philadelphia.
Sunday told jurors that when Jackson was caught, he was carrying "the exact same firearm he used to try to kill Officer Anderson."
No intent? Jackson testified Wednesday and admitted firing his illegal gun three times after being pulled over for a traffic violation.
Jackson also admitted he knew his car smelled of marijuana and that he knew he was likely going to be thrown back in state prison for a parole violation.
Jackson served 5½ years upstate for dealing crack-cocaine and being a previously convicted felon in illegal possession of a gun, and now he was again in possession of marijuana and another illegal gun in the presence of a police officer.
"I didn't want to go to jail," he told jurors. "I definitely didn't want to get caught with those drugs and that gun on me."
But Jackson testified that he didn't intend to shoot Anderson — he said he only meant to "create space" between himself and Anderson in order to flee. Jurors rejected that claim.
Others charged: Three women were charged with hindering Jackson's apprehension. One of them, 24-year-old Cristina Perez, was a passenger in Jackson's car when he shot at Anderson.
Perez testified at trial she had no idea what was going to happen and tried to jump out when Jackson took off, but the car was moving too fast. He let her out a block or two later, she said. The video shows she did open her door as Jackson floored it and took off.
She initially told police she knew nothing of the incident but quickly recanted and admitted being present at the scene. Her defense attorney, Bill Graff, said he'll ask prosecutors to "do the right thing" and drop his client's felony hindering charge because she didn't break the law.
Jackson's sometime girlfriend, 24-year-old Cathilia Laureano, pleaded guilty to her hindering charge for patching up Jackson's gunshot wound. She was sentenced to time served (34 days) to 18 months in prison.
The hindering case against the third woman, 34-year-old Xeomarie Velez-Quinones, remains active.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com and on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.