Nicole Jackson to remain incarcerated while case is taken under advisement

By HASKEL BURNS,

Nicole Jackson, the former Earl Travillion Attendance Center teacher who was charged with sexual battery after an alleged relationship with a student, will remain incarcerated while a judge takes her case under advisement.

During an initial hearing Monday in Forrest County Circuit Court, Twelfth District Court Judge Robert Helfrich said he would take the matter under advisement until the next Grand Jury convenes.

“If this matter is not presented to the next Grand Jury, I will revisit it,” he said.

Circuit Court Administrator Jerra Runnels said the Grand Jury meets once a month, but the date of the meeting is not public knowledge.

Jackson, 31, reportedly ran away in the company of 16-year-old Oscar O’Neal II in late April. O’Neal returned home May 9 after his family reported him missing.

Jackson turned herself in to police in mid-June and was booked under two active warrants, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and contempt of court.

Jackson, who is a former reading and language teacher at Earl Travillion, had previously turned herself in after police received details of an inappropriate relationship with a student. She was charged with sexual battery in a position or trust or authority and was released on a $10,000 bond.

Lt. LaTosha Myers-Mitchell of Hattiesburg Police Department testified Monday that she has attempted to interview O’Neal – who was referred to as “O.O.” throughout the hearing – but he has refused to answer any questions. Myers-Mitchell said O’Neal left a letter at home to let his family know he was leaving before he allegedly departed with Jackson, but the letter did not specifically mention Jackson’s name.

Forrest County Prosecutor Pam Castle made a motion to revoke bond for Jackson.

“We have reason to believe that the defendant did have regular contact with O.O.,” Castle said. “We also have reason to believe that she fled this jurisdiction for an extended period of time.

“Mrs. Nicole Jackson was not located in this jurisdiction until she turned herself in on June 14.”

Hattiesburg attorney Michael Reed, who is representing Jackson, challenged the validity of the prosecution’s evidence, saying that all their information came from Isaiah Jackson, the husband of Nicole Jackson.

“The only proof of (Jackson leaving the jurisdiction) is that a tag reader read the tag on a car that actually belongs to her parents in Madison, Mississippi,” Reed said. “(Isaiah Jackson) has given several conflicting statements about the incidents in this case.

“There is just no proof that in the brief time that O.O. was not at home … that he was with my client.”

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