Prosecutor: Robbery motive for murder

Published 9:09 am Wednesday, February 16, 2011



COURTLAND—A struggle during an attempted robbery ended with Tiona Tucker shooting Tirail Jackson, Southampton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Cooke said during Tuesday’s opening arguments in Tucker’s murder trial.

“This is Southampton County’s own Valentine’s Day massacre,” Cooke told the Circuit Court jury in Courtland.

Tucker’s attorney Barrett Richardson said, however, there’s no forensic evidence, eyewitnesses or a confession to convict Tucker of the Feb. 15, 2007, murder near Drewryville.

The first-degree murder trial against Tucker will continue today, Feb. 16, and is expected to last until Thursday. Police contend that the 21-year-old’s murder was pre-meditated.

Cooke told jurors that Tucker, 29, and Brian Scott, 25, went to the Hicksford Road trailer where Jackson was staying. During their visit, Scott got into a “struggle” with Jackson. When Jackson gained the upper hand, Tucker shot him, Cooke said. Then, Scott pulled out a gun and shot Jackson as well, he said.

Tyrell Powell, who owned the home on Hicksford Road, testified that he last saw Jackson alive at the trailer around 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 14. Powell left for the night, and when he returned the next morning, he said he found Jackson lying on the floor in the hallway with a bullet casing between his legs.

Powell said when he touched Jackson, he realized he was dead and called police.

He also testified that when he went to the bedrooms, they looked “ransacked.”

“It was tore up,” Powell said. “Beds were flipped over.”

Det. Richard Morris testified that the bullet casing found between Jackson’s legs was a .45-caliber shell. Morris also told the court the rooms in the trailer were in disarray and investigators found a pair of jean shorts with $1,400.

In his opening statement, Cooke said that Tucker told two people she shot Jackson. Cooke identified them as Antonio Hicks and Anita Lucas. The latter will testify that Tucker told her she killed Jackson and that the commonwealth did not have enough evidence to convict her, Cooke said.

Richardson discredited the witnesses, saying both are convicts. He also called one of the witnesses, who he identified as Angela, a career criminal, saying she has 16 prior felony charges.

Cooke added that Lucas “has no reason to lie.”

“She didn’t like that (Tucker) was bragging about killing someone,” he said.

Scott is scheduled for a May 24 trial.