Jackson gets 75 years on various charges

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 9, 2003

VIDALIA, La. &045; Stephen Jackson pleaded guilty last week in Seventh Judicial District Court and was sentenced to 75 years in prison, the District Attorney’s Office confirmed Tuesday.

Jackson, 37, of 133 Donald Drive in Vidalia, pleaded guilty Nov. 19 to armed robbery, manslaughter and aggravated arson in connection with the death of Linda Merritt McClanahan of 127 Donald Drive.

Judge Leo Boothe sentenced Jackson to 75 years in prison on the armed robbery charge, 40 years on the manslaughter charge and 20 years on the aggravated assault charge, with the sentences to run at the same time.

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Under Louisiana law, at least 85 percent of the sentence must be served &045; making Jackson eligible for parole in almost 64 years.

&uot;So it’s basically a life sentence,&uot; said Assistant District Attorney Brad Burget.

The plea was accepted &uot;with the consent of the (victim’s) family and to save the family and the community the necessity of going through a trial,&uot; Burget said. &uot;Everybody was on board (with the decision).&uot;

Jackson was originally charged with first-degree murder and aggravated arson in connection with McClanahan’s May 28, 2001, death. A grand jury indicted Jackson on those charges in July 2001.

Autopsy results showed that McClanahan, 54, was beaten with a blunt instrument and stabbed several times before the trailer in which she was living was set on fire, apparently to cover up the crime.

According to the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office, the apparent motive was robbery.