Jackson charged with capital murder

John Richmeier
County Attorney Todd Thompson, center, speaks during a news conference Tuesday at the Justice Center in Leavenworth. Thompson announced that a capital murder charge has been filed against Donald R. Jackson Jr. Also pictured are Assistant County Attorneys Megan Williams and Shawn Boyd.

Updated 3:08 p.m. Oct. 27, 2020, with additional information.

A the Leavenworth County man who was arrested over the weekend following an Amber Alert has been charged with capital murder.

Donald “Donny” R. Jackson Jr., 40, has been charged with capital murder for the death of two boys, County Attorney Todd Thompson announced Tuesday.

The charges came after the boys, ages 12 and 14, were found dead Saturday at a home on Hillside Road near Lansing.

According to Leavenworth County Undersheriff Jim Sherley, Jackson is the father of the two boys.

Two girls also were reported missing at the time, and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation issued an Amber Alert.

The Amber Alert identified Jackson as a suspect in the case.

Jackson and the girls were located Saturday in Oklahoma. The girls reportedly were safe. Jackson was taken into custody.

Thompson, who is the county attorney for Leavenworth County, announced the capital murder charge during a news conference.

Thompson said Tuesday that he could not discuss details, or the facts, of the case.

“We do not want to taint the jury,” he said.

Thompson said a conviction for capital murder can result in life in prison without parole, or prosecutors can seek the death penalty.

If the prosecution seeks the death penalty, a jury would have to make a finding regarding aggravated circumstances in order for the death sentence to be imposed, according to state law.

As an alternative to the single count of capital murder, Jackson has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder. This would give jurors the option of convicting the defendant of the first-degree murder charges instead of the capital murder charge.

For now, Jackson remains in custody in Oklahoma.

Thompson said Jackson will have the option of waiving extradition from Oklahoma to Leavenworth County. Thompson said Jackson also can choose to fight extradition, which would result in legal wrangling in Oklahoma.

The Amber Alert was issued because it was believed the two girls had been abducted. But Jackson has not been charged with kidnapping.

When asked about possible federal charges in the case, Thompson said he has not had discussion with officials in federal agencies. Thompson said he believes the case will be prosecuted in Leavenworth County.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR

Donald R. Jackson Jr.