Man sentenced to 18 months in jail for racist graffiti found on Salisbury University campus
SALISBURY, Md. – On Friday at 9 a.m., Jerome Jackson walked into court as a free man. By 4:30 that afternoon, he was heading to jail to begin his 18-month sentence after pleading guilty to five incidents of racist graffiti found on Salisbury University’s campus.
“I think it was a just result, Judge Marsh agreed, indicating what happened today was justice,” Wicomico County State’s Attorney Jamie Dykes said.
Jackson chose not to speak in court, so community members may never know why exactly he did what he did. But his attorney, Richard Brueckner, says he can speculate as to what his client’s motive was.
“To start a conversation about race at SU, their practices, their admissions, the way the institution is run, and to bring those issues to the forefront,” Brueckner suggested, adding that this was his own speculation, and not directly from Jackson.
While Brueckner admits there could have been other ways for his client to start a conversation, he says all you have to do lately is look around and see the ways the Black community is fighting to be heard.
“Their voice isn’t often heard, and we’ve seen folks go to some pretty extreme lengths, to facilitate a conversation of race and where it fits in,” he said.
But Dykes says what Jackson did left a lot of students feeling unsafe.
“People were scared, and in many ways rightfully scared,” Dykes said.
For that reason, Dykes says she agrees with the sentence handed down on Friday morning. Brueckner, on the other hand, says he’s not so sure.
“I’m not sure that incarceration sends any message to anyone about racism,” Brueckner said.
Brueckner tells 47 ABC Jackson originally faced nearly 30 years in prison before the plea deal was worked out. Dykes says although he was sentenced to 18-months behind bars, Jackson will likely serve around nine months before being paroled. He also must pay $494 to the university in restitution.